Highest European recognition for early career researchers awarded to three MPGC PIs
September 06, 2023
The European Research Council (ERC) is funding three MPGC PIs, Laura Classen, Claire Donnelly, and Niels Schröter with one of the highest recognitions for early career researchers in Europe
The ERC Starting Grant competition attracted 2,696 proposals, which were reviewed by panels of renowned researchers from around the world. Awarded are 400 Starting Grants (success rate of 14.8%) to young scientists and scholars across Europe with over €628 million. The grants are expected to create more than 2,600 jobs for postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and other staff at the host institutions.
The most successful host organizations in Europe come from Germany with 87 grants, followed by France with 50 grants and the Netherlands, which received 44 grants.
In a European comparison, the Max Planck Society ranks first, together with the French CNRS, with 20 grants each. The Helmholtz Association and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem follow in second place with 10 grants. Third place goes to the Technical University of Munich with 9 grants acquired.
Three scientists from the MPGC-QM have been awarded Starting Grants in the current round of the European Research Council (ERC).
In her project "Emergence in quantum materials: from relativistic quantum criticality to non Fermi liquids and superconductivity", or QuantEmerge for short, Professor Laura Classen and her team are using a new approach to investigate a complex interplay between unusual magnetic, metallic and superconducting phases that cannot be explained by conventional many-particle theory. New developments in 2D relativistic materials will be exploited to calculate thermodynamic and transport properties.
Only when the fundamental properties of quantum materials can be understood and controlled will it be possible to use them for applications such as quantum computing.
Laura Classen is a professor of correlated quantum materials theory at the Technical University of Munich and leader of the research group "Correlated Phases in Quantum Materials" at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research.
In her ERC Starting Grant 3DNanoQuant, Claire Donnelly and her group spin3D will pursue a new route to controlling the functionality of quantum materials: through the extension to three dimensional nanogeometries.
There are two key aspects of the concept: the nanoscale, and the three dimensionality. First, the nanoscale is a highly relevant lengthscale for many quantum systems – be it the exchange length of magnets, or the coherence length or penetration depth of superconductors, meaning that the properties of nanopatterned materials can be locally changed (or designed!), even going beyond what is possible in bulk systems. By taking these nanogeometries to the third dimension, it will be possible to tune local anisotropies, chirality and even topologies through the design of curvilinear systems.
In order to make this transition to 3D possible, Claire and her group will develop a new toolbox for 3D quantum nanomaterials, involving both the nanofabrication of functional 3D devices, as well as new capabilities to characterise their three dimensional properties. As part of this project, she will apply this toolbox to a selection of quantum materials: magnets, antiferromagnets, and superconductors, to explore new physics, and pave the way for the next generation of technological devices.
One of these coveted grants worth 2.4 million Euro is awarded to Dr. Niels Schröter, research group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Halle. His ERC grant “ChiralTopMat” will explore a new class of structurally chiral topological materials that could lead to novel energy-efficient memory technologies.
This is the first ERC Starting Grant to be hosted at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics. ChiralTopMat aims to provide the direct experimental observation of chiral spin-hedgehogs in structurally chiral crystals and to explore ways to control their properties for applications in magnetic memory devices. Moreover, another focus will be to test the stability of topological Berry curvature monopoles against strong electronic interactions that Schröter’s group recently discovered in a chiral topological semimetal, a material that combines structural and electronic chirality.