Quantum Materials

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About this program

How can superconductivity transform our society?

The properties of materials have huge influence on our lives: the electrical conductivity of copper, or the magnetic nature of iron, underpin the functioning of modern technology like computers, satellites, our electrical grid and more.

While our understanding of these material properties has been refined over centuries, there are still surprises for those who know where to look. At extreme conditions — for example, very low temperatures or very high pressures — some materials exhibit properties such as superconductivity  or unusual forms of magnetism. If these strange behaviours can be understood and replicated under less extreme conditions, it could lead to technologies far more advanced than those available today.

Program at a glance

Founded in

1987

Members

67

Renewal Dates

1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, 2012

Partners

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Disciplines

Condensed matter and quantum physics; atomic, chemical and computational physics; nanomaterials and materials engineering

Program details

CIFAR’s Quantum Materials program began in 1987, the same year that the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the discovery of the first high-temperature superconductors. By bringing together materials fabrication, experimentation and theory, the program creates a synergistic cycle that pushes the field forward in ways that would not have been possible otherwise. Members who are experts in fabrication create ultra-pure samples of exotic materials containing novel combinations of chemical elements. Experimentalists measure the properties of these materials and determine what causes their odd behaviour. Theorists develop new models to explain what is observed in the experiments. Their theories then often  suggest new experiments and fabrication techniques to try.

Damascelli-in-his-lab2-2012
Senior Fellow Andrea Damascelli uses spectroscopic and x-ray scattering techniques to study the low-energy electronic structure of quantum materials

Superconductivity already plays a vital role in technology. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine use superconductors — cooled with liquid helium — to create powerful magnetic fields to see inside the body, eliminating the complications often attached to surgery or x-ray radiation. In Japan, magnetically levitated (maglev) trains use superconductors to reach speeds higher than 500 kilometres per hour. Superconductors are also used in the Large Hadron Collider and in other detectors designed to look for exotic particles that help us understand our universe.

Some scientists have also proposed using superconductors to create devices that could store energy when it’s cheaper — e.g. at night — and release it when it’s needed. Yet all current and future uses of superconductors suffer from a similar drawback; the high expense and energy requirements of cooling. Better superconductors that work at higher temperatures could greatly reduce the cost of today’s most advanced technologies and usher in new ones, such as power grids that work at 100 per cent efficiency, with the potential to revolutionize the technological platforms on which our society is based.

Crystal-Revised-Shot
Crystals like these produced in Senior Fellow Bruce Gaulin’s Growth Crystal Lab at McMaster University are used to study phenomena such as high-temperature superconductivity. (Credit: Thomas Van Ryzewk)

SELECTED PAPERS



Ohtomo, A., and H.Y. Hwang, H.Y. "A high-mobility electron gas at the LaAlO3/SrTiO3 heterointerface." Nature 427 (2004) : 423-426. abstract

Doiron-Leyraud, N. et al. "Quantum oscillations and the Fermi surface in an underdoped high-Tc superconductor." Nature 447 (200&) : 565-568. Abstract

Dalidovich, D. et al. “Spin structure factor of the frustrated quantum magnet Cs2CuCl4,” Physical Review B 73, 18 (2006). Abstract

LeBoeuf, D. et al. “Electron pockets in the Fermi surface of hole-doped high-Tc superconductors,” Nature 450 (2007). Abstract

Daou, R. et al. “Broken rotational symmetry in the pseudogap phase of a high-Tc superconductor,” Nature 463 (2010) : 519-522. Abstract

Comin, R. et al. “Charge Order Driven by Fermi-Arc Instability in Bi2Sr2−xLaxCuO6+δ,” Science 343, 6169 (2014): 390-392. Abstract

Program fellows & advisors

Program Director

QM_LouisTaillefer
Louis Taillefer
Program Director

Louis Taillefer investigates why some materials exhibit remarkable electronic properties, such as magnetism and superconductivity. In the last decade, he has specialized in superconductors, materials that conduct electricity without any resistance. 

Fellows

Bio Outline

Alexandre Blais

  • Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Université de Sherbrooke
  • Canada
AndreaDamascelli

Andrea Damascelli

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of British Columbia
  • Canada
AndreMarieTremblay

André-Marie Tremblay

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Université de Sherbrooke
  • Canada
QM_AndrewMillis

Andrew Millis

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Columbia University
  • United States
QM_ArunParamekanti

Arun Paramekanti

  • Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of Toronto
  • Canada
QM_BernhardKeimer

Bernhard Keimer

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research
  • Germany
BruceGaulin

Bruce D. Gaulin

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • McMaster University
  • Canada
Bio Outline

Catherine Kallin

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • McMaster University
  • Canada
QM_CedomirPetrovic

Cedomir Petrovic

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • United States
QM_ChrisWiebe

Christopher Wiebe

  • Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of Winnipeg
  • Canada
QM_CollinBroholm

Collin Broholm

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • United States
Bio Outline

Cyril Proust

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Laboratoire national des champs magnétiques intenses
  • France
QM_DavidBroun

David Broun

  • Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Simon Fraser University
  • Canada
QM_DavidHawthorn

David G. Hawthorn

  • Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of Waterloo
  • Canada
DougBonn

Doug Bonn

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of British Columbia
  • Canada
QM_DouglasScalapino

Douglas Scalapino

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of California Santa Barbara
  • United States
Bio Outline

Eugene A. Demler

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Harvard University
  • United States
QM_FeiZhou

Fei Zhou

  • Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of British Columbia
  • Canada
Gabriel Kotliar

Gabriel Kotliar

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Rutgers University
  • United States
GeorgeSawatzky

George A. Sawatzky

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of British Columbia
  • Canada
QM_GilbertLonzarich

Gilbert Lonzarich

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Cambridge University
  • United Kingdom
QM_LukeGraeme

Graeme Luke

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • McMaster University
  • Canada
QM_GuillaumeGervais

Guillaume Gervais

  • Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • McGill University
  • Canada
QM_KeeHaeYong

Hae-Young Kee

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of Toronto
  • Canada
Bio Outline

Hai-Hu Wen

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • China
QM_HaroldHwang

Harold Y. Hwang

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Stanford University
  • United States
IanAffleck

Ian Affleck

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of British Columbia
  • Canada
QM_IanFisher

Ian Fisher

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Stanford University
  • United States
Bio Outline

Immanuel F. Bloch

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Max-Planck-Institute for Quantum Optics
  • Ludwig-Maximilians University
  • Germany
QM_JeffSonier

Jeff E. Sonier

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Simon Fraser University
  • Canada
QM_JenniferHoffman

Jennifer Hoffman

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Harvard University
  • United States
Bio Outline

John Y. T. Wei

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of Toronto
  • Canada
QM_JohnpierrePaglione

Johnpierre Paglione

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of Maryland
  • United States
QM_JosephThywissen

Joseph H. Thywissen

  • Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of Toronto
  • Canada
QM_JosephMaciejko

Joseph Maciejko

  • Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of Alberta
  • Canada
Bio Outline

Joshua Folk

  • Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of British Columbia
  • Canada
Bio Outline

Jules P. Carbotte

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • McMaster University
  • Canada
QM_KarynLehur

Karyn Le Hur

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • École polytechnique and CNRS
  • France
QM_KathrynMoler

Kathryn A. Moler

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Stanford University
  • United States
QM_LeonBalents

Leon Balents

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of California Santa Barbara
  • United States
QM_LindsayLeBlanc

Lindsay J. LeBlanc

  • Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of Alberta
  • Canada
QM_MarcelFranz

Marcel Franz

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of British Columbia
  • Canada
QM_MichelGingras

Michel J. P. Gingras

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of Waterloo
  • Canada
QM_PatrickFournier

Patrick Fournier

  • Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Université de Sherbrooke
  • Canada
Bio Outline

Randall G. Hulet

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Rice University
  • United States
QM_RobertCava

Robert Cava

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Princeton University
  • United States
Bio Outline

Ruixing Liang

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of British Columbia
  • Canada
QM_SenthilTodadri

Senthil Todadri

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • United States
QM_StephenJulian

Stephen R. Julian

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of Toronto
  • Canada
Steve Dodge

Steve Dodge

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Simon Fraser University
  • Canada
QM_StevenKivelson

Steven Kivelson

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Stanford University
  • United States
QM_SubirSachdev

Subir Sachdev

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Harvard University
  • United States
QM_TakashiImai

Takashi Imai

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • McMaster University
  • Canada
Bio Outline

Thomas Timusk

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • McMaster University
  • Canada
QM_LWalterHardy

Walter N. Hardy

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of British Columbia
  • Canada
QM_RYoichiAndo

Yoichi Ando

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of Cologne
  • Germany
QM_YongBaekKim

Yong Baek Kim

  • Senior Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of Toronto
  • Canada
QM_YoshiteruMaeno

Yoshiteru Maeno

  • Associate Fellow
  • Quantum Materials
  • Kyoto University
  • Japan

Advisors

Bio Outline

Andrew Peter Mackenzie

  • Advisor
  • Quantum Materials
  • Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids
  • Germany
QM_GeorgesAntoine

Antoine Georges

  • Advisor
  • Quantum Materials
  • L’École polytechnique
  • France
QM_TakagiHidenori

Hidenori Takagi

  • Advisor
  • Quantum Materials
  • Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research
  • Germany
Bio Outline

J. C. Séamus Davis

  • Advisory Committee Chair
  • Quantum Materials
  • Cornell University
  • United States
QM_JochenMannhart

Jochen Mannhart

  • Advisor
  • Quantum Materials
  • Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research
  • Germany
QM_RichardGreene

Richard L. Greene

  • Advisor
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of Maryland
  • United States

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars

QM_JudyCha

Judy Cha

  • CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar
  • Quantum Materials
QM_KateRoss

Kate A. Ross

  • CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar
  • Quantum Materials
  • Colorado State University
  • United States
QM_LuyiYang

Luyi Yang

  • CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar
  • Quantum Materials
  • University of Toronto
  • Canada