German Research Foundation promotes outstanding research at Mainz University by approving a new collaborative research center in materials sciences

DFG sponsors CRC/Transregio 288 on Elastic Tuning and Response of Electronic Quantum Phases of Matter

4 June 2020

The German Research Foundation (DFG) will fund the establishment of the new Collaborative Research Center (CRC/Transregio 288) "Elastic Tuning and Response of Electronic Quantum Phases of Matter" (ELASTO-Q-MAT) at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). "We greatly appreciate the approval of ELASTO-Q-MAT. Indeed, materials research already has a long and successful tradition at JGU", said JGU President Professor Georg Krausch. "Thus, I want to thank all participating scientists for their outstanding research achievements that further consolidate JGU as one of Germany's research-intensive universities and further expand the already high level in this profile area of JGU."

Quantum materials are characterized by unusual physical properties, such as superconductivity, which can only be explained using quantum theory. Working in close collaboration in the new CRC/Transregio, Mainz University, Goethe University Frankfurt as coordinator, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden plan to investigate quantum materials with properties that are particularly amenable to modification by elastic deformation. The German Research Foundation will be providing a total of some EUR 10 million over the next four years to fund this research.

"Quantum materials with multiple properties are the key to future technologies. The ability to fine-tune these emerging properties using mechanical deformation is the Holy Grail of future quantum-mechanical electrical applications," said Professor Jairo Sinova of the Institute of Physics at Mainz University, JGU spokesperson for the new transregional project.

In recent years, physicists have discovered and synthesized a large number of new materials with these extraordinary properties. What all quantum materials have in common is that their electrons perform a kind of organized "dance". The choreography is often maintained over broad energy ranges and long periods of time. This effect not only depends on the material's chemical composition, but also on external conditions such as temperature, pressure, and magnetic fields. By changing these, the properties of a quantum material can be selectively "souped up". In the new collaborative research center, the researchers will be focusing on quantum materials the properties of which react significantly to elastic deformation.

"Our goal is to develop electronic quantum materials with properties that can be controlled very sensitively by mechanical deformation so that they effectively become several quantum materials in one, each with its own unique properties," emphasized Professor Jairo Sinova.