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Courtesy of M. Zahid Hasan group, Princeton University - graphic representation of the energy-momentum relation of electrons on the surface of a bismuth-based topological insulator

Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems

Materials Synthesis Investigator Program

EPiQS Materials Synthesis Investigator Awards Aim to Boost Discovery of New Quantum Materials


The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded grants to twelve materials synthesis experts at eight institutions, as part of the Moore Materials Synthesis Investigators program. This program is part of our Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems (EPiQS) initiative

Grants in this portfolio will total $20.6 million over five years, with individual awards ranging from $1.5 to $1.9 million. These awards will enable investigators to dedicate substantial effort to discovery-driven research, such as investigative synthesis of new types of quantum materials. The investigators will have the freedom to pursue highly uncertain research directions, which traditional funding sources often do not allow.

Quantum materials are substances in which the collective behavior of electrons leads to many complex and unexpected emergent phenomena. Examples of these phenomena include superconductivity, charge ordering, strange forms of magnetism, and the occurrence of 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, we will dedicate significant funds to promoting and strengthening materials synthesis within the EPiQS initiative.  

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 program and beyond. In addition to supporting already 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 the availability of top-quality samples to the experimental community.

The selected Moore Materials Synthesis Investigators are:

  • Ivan Bozovic, Brookhaven National Laboratory/Yale University
  • Paul Canfield, Iowa State University/Ames Laboratory
  • Robert Cava, Princeton University
  • Sang-Wook Cheong, Rutgers University
  • Ian Fisher, Stanford University
  • Harold Hwang, Stanford University
  • David Mandrus, University of Tennessee
  • Emilia Morosan, Rice University
  • Seongshik Oh, Rutgers University
  • Johnpierre Paglione, University of Maryland
  • Loren Pfeiffer, Princeton University
  • Mansour Shayegan, Princeton University

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 investigators will be an essential part of the EPiQS-funded community, which will also include experimental investigators and theory researchers.