From hot Superconductors to Cold Atoms

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Quantum matter refers to states of matter where quantum physics operates on macroscopic scales, to produce exotic phenomena such as superconductivity and superfluidity (flow of charge or mass without resistance). The exploration of this quantum world has been largely driven by unexpected experimental discoveries. While surprise after surprise followed, the theoretical understanding lagged behind. The remarkable properties of quantum matter cannot be described by extensions of the 20th century one-particle theory, but are intrinsically a collective effect of a macroscopic number of particles.

The aim of this research theme is to identify the fundamental principles that govern the properties of quantum matter. We believe that the time is right for a breakthrough, because of new mathematical tools that have become available in recent years. The grand challenges that we seek to address are central to condensed matter physics:

- What is the mechanism of high-temperature superconductivity and can the transition temperature be raised to room temperature?

- What is the origin of the ordering phenomena that compete with superconductivity in strange metals?

- How can we describe strongly interacting quantum matter out of equilibrium?

- Can ultracold atoms point to a novel way to create room-temperature superconductors?

27 January 2014