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Understanding Quantum Matter Beyond the Unit Cell

Project Details

Principal Investigator
Funding Source
Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES)
Start Date
End Date

Condensed matter physics is amidst a “topological revolution” as our understanding of the influence of topological invariants on a material’s physical properties has grown. Topological invariants can be in “real space” as for a skyrmion, or in “k-space” as for a Weyl semimetal. Despite significant progress, understanding how topology impacts all of the static and dynamic properties of quantum materials is the grand challenge of modern condensed matter physics. The Overarching Goal of this project is to achieve a fundamental understanding of how anisotropy, frustration, and topology acting in concert produce collective quantum phenomena. To achieve this goal, the Specific Aims of the project are: (1) Reveal the quantum mechanical origins of magnetic continua and how multi-magnon interactions impact and provide new avenues to study quantum magnetism; (2) Understand and tune topologically nontrivial character reflected in the excited states of quantum magnets. (3) Unravel the formation and properties of multi-Q magnetism with an emphasis on novel spin textures. These topics are pursued by combining neutron scattering investigations on carefully grown and characterized materials with the development of theoretical models and sophisticated simulation techniques. The principal outcomes will be the construction of physical models that describe how quantum magnetism and topology combine to influence macroscopic behavior and guidelines for identifying and manipulating systems to produce specific, quantum properties. As such, this work directly addresses the need to control and exploit quantum mechanical behaviors for novel functionalities, a priority research direction of the BES Basic Research Needs on Quantum Materials.

ORNL/UT-Knoxville Joint Faculty Affiliated Researcher

David Mandrus, Professor
University of Tennessee
(865) 974-3609


Distinguished Staff Scientist
Andrew D Christianson