The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded grants to thirteen materials synthesis experts at ten institutions, as part of the Moore Materials Synthesis Investigators of our Emerging Phenomena in Quantum Systems (EPiQS) Initiative. Each of the investigators will receive a five-year research grant in the amount of $1.7 million. These awards will enable investigators to dedicate substantial effort to discovery-driven research, such as investigative synthesis of new classes of quantum materials and development of new synthesis techniques. The investigators will have the freedom to pursue highly uncertain research directions, which is often difficult to do through traditional funding sources.

Quantum materials are substances in which collective behavior of electrons leads to many complex and unexpected phenomena, such as superconductivity, charge ordering, strange forms of magnetism, and emergent particles with properties unlike those of fundamental particles. Recognizing that the discovery of new materials and improvement in materials’ quality are key drivers of progress in this field, within the EPiQS Initiative we will dedicate significant funds to promoting and strengthening materials synthesis. Our approach is to focus on some of the field’s leading scientists, to allow these scientists the freedom to explore and the flexibility to change research directions, and to incentivize sample sharing within the EPiQS Initiative and beyond. In addition to supporting relatively established researchers through this investigator program, we also seek to promote emerging synthesis experts through a separate program, the Moore Fellows in Materials Synthesis. We believe that our programs will lead to discoveries of new quantum materials with emergent electronic properties as well as an increase in availability of top-quality samples to the experimental community.

The selected Moore Materials Synthesis Investigators are:

These scientists use a variety of synthesis approaches, including thin-film and crystal growth, and their combined expertise covers many classes of quantum materials. The new investigators will have ample opportunities to participate in EPiQS-funded community-building activities, which include investigator symposia, topical workshops co-designed by grantees, and the QuantEmX scientist exchange program.

EPiQS Theory Centers

Earlier in 2019, EPiQS launched a portfolio of Theory Center grants, focusing on eight leading academic centers of excellence in theory of quantum materials. Through EPiQS Theory Centers, we hope to achieve the following goals:

  • Maximize scientific productivity and enrich the overall intellectual environment at the funded institutions.
  • Enable some of the top young talent in theory to acquire a breadth of expertise through flexible postdoctoral appointments in which they can pursue their interests and work with multiple faculty members.

The selected universities are:

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • University of California at Santa Barbara
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The grant amounts range between $990k and $1.5 million, with a $9.4 million portfolio total. The bulk of the grant funds will support Moore Postdoctoral Theory Scholars for appointments of up to three years and Moore Visiting Scholars for appointments ranging from a few months to one year. We anticipate that about 25 postdoctoral scholars will be trained and about two dozen visiting scholars will be hosted within this grant portfolio. All major topics in theory of quantum materials, including quantum many-body theory, strongly correlated electronic matter, topological order, and many others, will be studied within the Theory Centers portfolio.

The second phase

These two grant portfolios mark the beginning of the second phase of EPiQS, which will add $95 million to the first-phase investment of $90 million. In the first phase of the Initiative, which started in 2013, EPiQS grantees have discovered new emergent electronic phenomena, constructed instrumentation that provides unique subatomic-scale information about materials, developed of new paradigms for understanding complex quantum matter, and discovered new classes of quantum materials. New topological materials that may improve our energy efficiency, new types of superconductors, new methods for controlling many-electron systems, and new theories connecting the topological and application-relevant (e.g. electronic, optical, magnetic) properties of materials are examples of their discoveries and illustrative of how taking risks pays off.



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