Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Moore quantum materials: Recipe for serendipity - Moore Foundation grant will allow Rice physicist to explore quantum materials

Emilia Morosan
CREDIT: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University
Emilia Morosan

CREDIT: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

Abstract:
Thanks to a $1.5 million innovation award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Rice University physicist Emilia Morosan is embarking on a five-year quest to cook up a few unique compounds that have never been synthesized or explored. Morosan is no ordinary cook; her pantry includes metals, oxides and sulfides, and her recipes produce superconductors and exotic magnets.

Moore quantum materials: Recipe for serendipity - Moore Foundation grant will allow Rice physicist to explore quantum materials

Houston, TX | Posted on August 12th, 2014

Morosan, associate professor of physics and astronomy, of chemistry and of materials science and nanoengineering, has been named a Moore Foundation Materials Synthesis Investigator. Her lab specializes in the design, discovery and synthesis of compounds with unconventional electronic and magnetic ground states. She said the Moore funding, which was provided through the foundation's Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems Initiative, allows the freedom for experiments that might cause other funding agencies to balk.

"For many years, the United States was the undisputed leader in materials synthesis, but governmental funding has fallen dramatically at a time when Europe and Asia have invested heavily," Morosan said. "With this new initiative, I think the Moore Foundation is filling a stringent need for more exploratory materials synthesis research that doesn't fit with the well-defined rationale of traditional funding agencies."

Morosan stressed that her research is focused on elucidating the fundamental properties of materials with emergent behavior.

"I know it can be a turnoff when people ask, 'What is this good for?' and we say, 'This is more fundamental than applicable,'" she said. "But at the root of all engineering applications is some fundamental concept that was discovered and that was only applied after a library of knowledge was built up around that and many other discoveries."

Morosan is well-aware that the initial act of scientific discovery can involve serendipity -- the "failure" of synthesizing a never-before-seen compound while targeting a totally different one. That happened in her lab in 2009.

Following the discovery of the first iron-based high-temperature superconductors, Morosan's group was attempting to make a compound of cerium, iron and arsenic that contained a ratio of 1-2-2 -- one cerium ion to each two iron and two arsenic ions.

Many quantum materials often have similar compositions, even when the elements differ. For example, the discovery of the first "heavy fermion" in 1979 -- a find that preceded high-temperature superconductivity by seven years -- contained one ion of cerium for two copper and two silicon ions. This 1-2-2 ratio has been found repeatedly over the years in many other quantum materials, including other heavy fermions as well as high-temperature superconductors.

Morosan and her team knew something was amiss as soon as the 2009 synthesis was completed.

"What we were trying to make should have looked like plate crystals," she said. "What we ended up with were needle-like crystals."

Upon further examination, her team learned that their mystery material had both intriguing physical properties and a hitherto unreported 1-4-3 atomic ratio. The structure remains unique; it has yet to be found in another compound, despite years of worldwide effort.

Morosan said the Moore funding will allow her to pursue several lines of research, and one of these will be a "fishing expedition" that aims to systematically explore whole families of little-studied materials. She said the hope is to combine knowledge, intuition and technical skill to help foster the chances for serendipity.

"There are phase spaces and materials families that have been overlooked for years, for a variety of reasons," she said. "I think there's a lot to be found at the bottom of the sea, in these unexplored places.

"It is a gamble because I don't know if these compounds will form, and if they do, I don't know if the physics will be interesting. But if I'm allowed some freedom to try, then I am confident we will learn a great deal and will find really interesting new physics. And even if we don't, and we simply make progress toward answering some of the critical questions in condensed matter physics, then it will still be a success."

####

About Rice University
Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,920 undergraduates and 2,567 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just over 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is highly ranked for best quality of life by the Princeton Review and for best value among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations on Twitter @RiceUNews.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Jade Boyd
713-348-6778

Copyright © Rice University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

More information about the Moore Foundation's quantum materials program is available at:

Related News Press

News and information

New Hopes for Treatment of Intestine Cancer by Edible Nanodrug March 2nd, 2015

Imec, Holst Centre and Renesas Present World’s Lowest Power 2.4GHz Radio Chip for Bluetooth Low Energy March 1st, 2015

Imec, Murata, and Huawei Introduce Breakthrough Solution for TX-to-RX Isolation in Reconfigurable, Multiband Front-End Modules for Mobile Phones: Electrical-Balance Duplexers Pave the Way to Integrated Solution for TX-to-RX Isolation March 1st, 2015

Imec Demonstrates Compact Wavelength-Division Multiplexing CMOS Silicon Photonics Transceiver March 1st, 2015

Physics

Moving molecule writes letters: Caging of molecules allows investigation of equilibrium thermodynamics February 27th, 2015

Real-time observation of bond formation by using femtosecond X-ray liquidography February 26th, 2015

Warming up the world of superconductors: Clusters of aluminum metal atoms become superconductive at surprisingly high temperatures February 25th, 2015

Quantum many-body systems on the way back to equilibrium: Advances in experimental and theoretical physics enable a deeper understanding of the dynamics and properties of quantum many-body systems February 25th, 2015

Materials/Metamaterials

Moving molecule writes letters: Caging of molecules allows investigation of equilibrium thermodynamics February 27th, 2015

Graphene shows potential as novel anti-cancer therapeutic strategy: University of Manchester scientists have used graphene to target and neutralise cancer stem cells while not harming other cells February 26th, 2015

In quest for better lithium-air batteries, chemists boost carbon's stability: Nanoparticle coatings improve stability, cyclability of '3DOm' carbon February 25th, 2015

Learning by eye: Silicon micro-funnels increase the efficiency of solar cells February 25th, 2015

Announcements

New Hopes for Treatment of Intestine Cancer by Edible Nanodrug March 2nd, 2015

Imec Demonstrates Compact Wavelength-Division Multiplexing CMOS Silicon Photonics Transceiver March 1st, 2015

onic Present breakthrough in CMOS-based Transceivers for mm-Wave Radar Systems March 1st, 2015

Graphene Shows Promise In Eradication Of Stem Cancer Cells March 1st, 2015

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Rice's Stephan Link honored for nanoscience research: The Welch Foundation honors ‘rising star’ with $100,000 Hackerman Award February 26th, 2015

Cutting-edge technology optimizes cancer therapy with nanomedicine drug combinations: UCLA bioengineers develop platform that offers personalized approach to treatment February 24th, 2015

QD Vision Named Edison Award Finalist for Innovative Color IQ™ Quantum Dot Technology February 23rd, 2015

Rosetta Team Wins the National Space Society's Science and Engineering Space Pioneer Award February 23rd, 2015

Quantum nanoscience

Quantum many-body systems on the way back to equilibrium: Advances in experimental and theoretical physics enable a deeper understanding of the dynamics and properties of quantum many-body systems February 25th, 2015

Quantum research past, present and future for discussion at AAAS February 16th, 2015

Exotic states materialize with supercomputers February 12th, 2015

Graphene displays clear prospects for flexible electronics February 2nd, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE