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Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Training Grant | Award Amount: 3.99M | Year: 2014

The Scottish Doctoral Training Centre in Condensed Matter Physics, known as the CM-DTC, is an EPSRC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) addressing the broad field of Condensed Matter Physics (CMP). CMP is a core discipline that underpins many other areas of science, and is one of the Priority Areas for this CDT call. Renewal funding for the CM-DTC will allow five more annual cohorts of PhD students to be recruited, trained and released onto the market. They will be highly educated professionals with a knowledge of the field, in depth and in breadth, that will equip them for future leadership in a variety of academic and industrial careers. Condensed Matter Physics research impacts on many other fields of science including engineering, biophysics, photonics, chemistry, and materials science. It is a significant engine for innovation and drives new technologies. Recent examples include the use of liquid crystals for displays including flat-screen and 3D television, and the use of solid-state or polymeric LEDs for power-saving high-illumination lighting systems. Future examples may involve harnessing the potential of graphene (the worlds thinnest and strongest sheet-like material), or the creation of exotic low-temperature materials whose properties may enable the design of radically new types of (quantum) computer with which to solve some of the hardest problems of mathematics. The UKs continued ability to deliver transformative technologies of this character requires highly trained CMP researchers such as those the Centre will produce. The proposed training approach is built on a strong framework of taught lecture courses, with core components and a wide choice of electives. This spans the first two years so that PhD research begins alongside the coursework from the outset. It is complemented by hands-on training in areas such as computer-intensive physics and instrument building (including workshop skills and 3D printing). Some lecture courses are delivered in residential schools but most are videoconferenced live, using the well-established infrastructure of SUPA (the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance). Students meet face to face frequently, often for more than one day, at cohort-building events that emphasise teamwork in science, outreach, transferable skills and careers training. National demand for our graduates is demonstrated by the large number of companies and organisations who have chosen to be formally affiliated with our CDT as Industrial Associates. The range of sectors spanned by these Associates is notable. Some, such as e2v and Oxford Instruments, are scientific consultancies and manufacturers of scientific equipment, whom one would expect to be among our core stakeholders. Less obviously, the list also represents scientific publishers, software houses, companies small and large from the energy sector, large multinationals such as Solvay-Rhodia and Siemens, and finance and patent law firms. This demonstrates a key attraction of our graduates: their high levels of core skills, and a hands-on approach to problem solving. These impart a discipline-hopping ability which more focussed training for specific sectors can complement, but not replace. This breadth is prized by employers in a fast-changing environment where years of vocational training can sometimes be undermined very rapidly by unexpected innovation in an apparently unrelated sector. As the UK builds its technological future by funding new CDTs across a range of priority areas, it is vital to include some that focus on core discipline skills, specifically Condensed Matter Physics, rather than the interdisciplinary or semi-vocational training that features in many other CDTs. As well as complementing those important activities today, our highly trained PhD graduates will be equipped to lay the foundations for the research fields (and perhaps some of the industrial sectors) of tomorrow.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

TORONTO, ON (Canada) - University of Toronto (U of T) researchers have demonstrated a way to increase the resolution of microscopes and telescopes beyond long-accepted limitations by tapping into previously neglected properties of light. The method allows observers to distinguish very small or distant objects that are so close together they normally meld into a single blur. Telescopes and microscopes are great for observing lone subjects. Scientists can precisely detect and measure a single distant star. The longer they observe, the more refined their data becomes. But objects like binary stars don't work the same way. That's because even the best telescopes are subject to laws of physics that cause light to spread out or "diffract." A sharp pinpoint becomes an ever-so-slightly blurry dot. If two stars are so close together that their blurs overlap, no amount of observation can separate them out. Their individual information is irrevocably lost. More than 100 years ago, British physicist John William Strutt - better known as Lord Rayleigh - established the minimum distance between objects necessary for a telescope to pick out each individually. The "Rayleigh Criterion" has stood as an inherent limitation of the field of optics ever since. Telescopes, though, only register light's "intensity" or brightness. Light has other properties that now appear to allow one to circumvent the Rayleigh Criterion. "To beat Rayleigh's curse, you have to do something clever," says Professor Aephraim Steinberg, a physicist at U of T's Centre for Quantum Information and Quantum Control, and Senior Fellow in the Quantum Information Science program at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. He's the lead author of a paper published today in the journal Physical Review Letters. Some of these clever ideas were recognized with the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, notes Steinberg, but those methods all still rely on intensity only, limiting the situations in which they can be applied. "We measured another property of light called 'phase.' And phase gives you just as much information about sources that are very close together as it does those with large separations." Light travels in waves, and all waves have a phase. Phase refers to the location of a wave's crests and troughs. Even when a pair of close-together light sources blurs into a single blob, information about their individual wave phases remains intact. You just have to know how to look for it. This realization was published by National University of Singapore researchers Mankei Tsang, Ranjith Nair, and Xiao-Ming Lu last year in Physical Review X, and Steinberg's and three other experimental groups immediately set about devising a variety of ways to put it into practice. "We tried to come up with the simplest thing you could possibly do," Steinberg says. "To play with the phase, you have to slow a wave down, and light is actually easy to slow down." His team, including PhD students Edwin (Weng Kian) Tham and Huge Ferretti, split test images in half. Light from each half passes through glass of a different thickness, which slows the waves for different amounts of time, changing their respective phases. When the beams recombine, they create distinct interference patterns that tell the researchers whether the original image contained one object or two - at resolutions well beyond the Rayleigh Criterion. So far, Steinberg's team has tested the method only in artificial situations involving highly restrictive parameters. "I want to be cautious - these are early stages," he says. "In our laboratory experiments, we knew we just had one spot or two, and we could assume they had the same intensity. That's not necessarily the case in the real world. But people are already taking these ideas and looking at what happens when you relax those assumptions." The advance has potential applications both in observing the cosmos, and also in microscopy, where the method can be used to study bonded molecules and other tiny, tight-packed structures. Regardless of how much phase measurements ultimately improve imaging resolution, Steinberg says the experiment's true value is in shaking up physicists' concept of "where information actually is." Steinberg's "day job" is in quantum physics - this experiment was a departure for him. He says work in the quantum realm provided key philosophical insights about information itself that helped him beat Rayleigh's Curse. "When we measure quantum states, you have something called the Uncertainty Principle, which says you can look at position or velocity, but not both. You have to choose what you measure. Now we're learning that imaging is more like quantum mechanics than we realized," he says. "When you only measure intensity, you've made a choice and you've thrown out information. What you learn depends on where you look." Support for the research was provided by by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and Northrop-Grumman Aerospace Systems NG Next. Note to media: The study "Beating Rayleigh's Curse by Imaging Using Phase Information" can be found at http://journals. .


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: phys.org

Telescopes and microscopes are great for observing lone subjects. Scientists can precisely detect and measure a single distant star. The longer they observe, the more refined their data becomes. But objects like binary stars don't work the same way. That's because even the best telescopes are subject to laws of physics that cause light to spread out or "diffract." A sharp pinpoint becomes an ever-so-slightly blurry dot. If two stars are so close together that their blurs overlap, no amount of observation can separate them out. Their individual information is irrevocably lost. More than 100 years ago, British physicist John William Strutt - better known as Lord Rayleigh - established the minimum distance between objects necessary for a telescope to pick out each individually. The "Rayleigh Criterion" has stood as an inherent limitation of the field of optics ever since. Telescopes, though, only register light's "intensity" or brightness. Light has other properties that now appear to allow one to circumvent the Rayleigh Criterion. "To beat Rayleigh's curse, you have to do something clever," says Professor Aephraim Steinberg, a physicist at U of T's Centre for Quantum Information and Quantum Control, and Senior Fellow in the Quantum Information Science program at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. He's the lead author of a paper published today in the journal Physical Review Letters. Some of these clever ideas were recognized with the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, notes Steinberg, but those methods all still rely on intensity only, limiting the situations in which they can be applied. "We measured another property of light called 'phase.' And phase gives you just as much information about sources that are very close together as it does those with large separations." Light travels in waves, and all waves have a phase. Phase refers to the location of a wave's crests and troughs. Even when a pair of close-together light sources blurs into a single blob, information about their individual wave phases remains intact. You just have to know how to look for it. This realization was published by National University of Singapore researchers Mankei Tsang, Ranjith Nair, and Xiao-Ming Lu last year in Physical Review X, and Steinberg's and three other experimental groups immediately set about devising a variety of ways to put it into practice. "We tried to come up with the simplest thing you could possibly do," Steinberg says. "To play with the phase, you have to slow a wave down, and light is actually easy to slow down." His team, including PhD students Edwin (Weng Kian) Tham and Huge Ferretti, split test images in half. Light from each half passes through glass of a different thickness, which slows the waves for different amounts of time, changing their respective phases. When the beams recombine, they create distinct interference patterns that tell the researchers whether the original image contained one object or two - at resolutions well beyond the Rayleigh Criterion. So far, Steinberg's team has tested the method only in artificial situations involving highly restrictive parameters. "I want to be cautious - these are early stages," he says. "In our laboratory experiments, we knew we just had one spot or two, and we could assume they had the same intensity. That's not necessarily the case in the real world. But people are already taking these ideas and looking at what happens when you relax those assumptions." The advance has potential applications both in observing the cosmos, and also in microscopy, where the method can be used to study bonded molecules and other tiny, tight-packed structures. Regardless of how much phase measurements ultimately improve imaging resolution, Steinberg says the experiment's true value is in shaking up physicists' concept of "where information actually is." Steinberg's "day job" is in quantum physics - this experiment was a departure for him. He says work in the quantum realm provided key philosophical insights about information itself that helped him beat Rayleigh's Curse. "When we measure quantum states, you have something called the Uncertainty Principle, which says you can look at position or velocity, but not both. You have to choose what you measure. Now we're learning that imaging is more like quantum mechanics than we realized," he says. "When you only measure intensity, you've made a choice and you've thrown out information. What you learn depends on where you look." Explore further: Quantum mechanics technique allows for pushing past 'Rayleigh's curse' More information: "Beating Rayleigh's Curse by Imaging Using Phase Information" Physical Review Letters, journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.070801.


News Article | March 1, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

(Toronto - March 1, 2017) Canadian quantum physicist Louis Taillefer, Director of CIFAR's Quantum Materials program, has been named the 2017 Simon Memorial Prize winner. He is the first Canadian to receive the prize since it was established in 1957. The international prize is awarded every three years by the Institute of Physics for distinguished work in experimental or theoretical low temperature physics. Taillefer was selected for his "pioneering contributions to the field of unconventional superconductivity." Superconductors are materials that have the ability to conduct electricity without any loss of energy. Known superconductors function under extreme temperatures; a superconductor that worked at room temperature would have countless applications, from energy efficiency to transportation. "This is a much deserved honour for Louis Taillefer. This award recognizes both the landmark contributions he has made to our understanding of quantum materials and to his international leadership as the director of CIFAR's program in Quantum Materials," said Dr. Alan Bernstein, President and CEO of CIFAR (Canadian Institute for Advanced Research). As the Director of CIFAR's Quantum Materials program and a professor at the Université de Sherbrooke, Taillefer is renowned for several contributions to the field using a number of powerful experimental techniques. On Feb. 27, 2007, his team, which included several CIFAR members, had their breakthrough observation of "quantum oscillations" in a copper-oxide superconductor. Quantum oscillations are the clearest signature of electrons in a metal and the discovery caused a paradigm shift in how scientists view electron behaviour in these materials. In 2016, the same team of CIFAR members identified a key signature of the quantum phase transition that underpins why copper oxides are the strongest known superconductors (see article in Quanta Magazine). "Exactly 10 years ago we made a breakthrough I never imagined was possible," Taillefer recalled. "Now, I can't wait to see what baffling discoveries the next 10 years will bring." Several previous award winners have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in Physics, including David M. Lee, Robert C. Richardson, Douglas Osheroff, Peter Kapitsa and Anthony James Leggett. The presentation of the Simon Memorial Prize will take place at the 28th International Conference on Low Temperature Physics, to be held in Gothenburg, Sweden, from 9-16 August 2017. CIFAR creates knowledge that is transforming our world. Established in 1982, the Institute brings together interdisciplinary groups of extraordinary researchers from around the globe to address questions and challenges of importance to the world. Our networks help support the growth of research leaders and are catalysts for change in business, government and society. CIFAR is generously supported by the governments of Canada, British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, Canadian and international partners, as well as individuals, foundations and corporations.


Piani M.,University of Waterloo | Piani M.,University of Strathclyde | Watrous J.,University of Waterloo | Watrous J.,Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2015

Steering is the entanglement-based quantum effect that embodies the "spooky action at a distance" disliked by Einstein and scrutinized by Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen. Here we provide a necessary and sufficient characterization of steering, based on a quantum information processing task: the discrimination of branches in a quantum evolution, which we dub subchannel discrimination. We prove that, for any bipartite steerable state, there are instances of the quantum subchannel discrimination problem for which this state allows a correct discrimination with strictly higher probability than in the absence of entanglement, even when measurements are restricted to local measurements aided by one-way communication. On the other hand, unsteerable states are useless in such conditions, even when entangled. We also prove that the above steering advantage can be exactly quantified in terms of the steering robustness, which is a natural measure of the steerability exhibited by the state. © 2015 American Physical Society.


Gingras M.J.P.,University of Waterloo | Gingras M.J.P.,Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics | Gingras M.J.P.,Canadian Institute for Advanced Research | McClarty P.A.,Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems
Reports on Progress in Physics | Year: 2014

The spin ice materials, including Ho2Ti2O7 and Dy 2Ti2O7, are rare-earth pyrochlore magnets which, at low temperatures, enter a constrained paramagnetic state with an emergent gauge freedom. Spin ices provide one of very few experimentally realized examples of fractionalization because their elementary excitations can be regarded as magnetic monopoles and, over some temperature range, spin ice materials are best described as liquids of these emergent charges. In the presence of quantum fluctuations, one can obtain, in principle, a quantum spin liquid descended from the classical spin ice state characterized by emergent photon-like excitations. Whereas in classical spin ices the excitations are akin to electrostatic charges with a mutual Coulomb interaction, in the quantum spin liquid these charges interact through a dynamic and emergent electromagnetic field. In this review, we describe the latest developments in the study of such a quantum spin ice, focusing on the spin liquid phenomenology and the kinds of materials where such a phase might be found. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.


Gardner J.S.,U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology | Gardner J.S.,Indiana University | Gingras M.J.P.,University of Waterloo | Gingras M.J.P.,Canadian Institute for Advanced Research | Greedan J.E.,McMaster University
Reviews of Modern Physics | Year: 2010

Within the past 20 years or so, there has occurred an explosion of interest in the magnetic behavior of pyrochlore oxides of the type A2 3+ B2 4+ O7, where A is a rare-earth ion and B is usually a transition metal. Both the A and B sites form a network of corner-sharing tetrahedra which is the quintessential framework for a geometrically frustrated magnet. In these systems the natural tendency to form long-range ordered ground states in accord with the third law of thermodynamics is frustrated, resulting in some novel short-range ordered alternatives, such as spin glasses, spin ices, and spin liquids, and much new physics. This article attempts to review the myriad of properties found in pyrochlore oxides, mainly from a materials perspective, but with an appropriate theoretical context. © 2010 The American Physical Society.


News Article | February 20, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Canadian cultural sociologist Michèle Lamont, founding Co-Director of CIFAR's Successful Societies program, has been named the 2017 Erasmus Prize winner. The prestigious European prize is awarded annually to a person or institution that has made an exceptional contribution to the humanities, social sciences or arts. It is presented by His Majesty the King of Netherlands and includes a cash prize of €150,000. Lamont received the prize for her "devoted contribution to social science research into the relationship between knowledge, power and diversity." For more than 30 years, Lamont has devoted her life to examining inequality, race and ethnicity, the evaluation of social science knowledge, and the impact of neoliberalism on advanced industrial societies. She is Co-Director of the Successful Societies program at CIFAR (Canadian Institute for Advanced Research) and is Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies and the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies at Harvard University. "Michèle Lamont is an outstanding research leader who has changed the way we understand our world and how to build more successful and equitable societies," says Dr. Alan Bernstein, President and CEO of CIFAR. "We are honoured to have supported her vital work for the last 15 years." Lamont was born in Toronto and raised in Quebec. Her experience in Canada as a Québécois deeply informed her research on culture. She received a Bachelors and Masters in political science at the University of Ottawa and a doctorate in sociology at the Université de Paris. She taught at the University of Texas and Princeton University prior to her current position at Harvard University. In 2002, Lamont founded CIFAR's Successful Societies program alongside fellow Co-Director and Harvard University professor Peter A. Hall. The interdisciplinary program brings together sociologists, political scientists, economists, historians and psychologists. Under Lamont's leadership, the program has published two highly-influential books: Successful Societies: How Institutions and Culture Affect Health (2009) and Social Resilience in the Neo-Liberal Era (2013). Lamont joins the list of Erasmus laureates that have included psychologist Jean Piaget, philosopher Isaiah Berlin, and Wikipedia. The inaugural 1958 prize was awarded to the Austrian people. "With her interdisciplinary approach, critical stance and international outlook, Lamont shows herself to be a champion of diversity in research and society. As such, she embodies the Erasmian values that the Foundation cherishes and upholds," the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation said in its announcement Feb. 20. The prize will be presented in November 2017 and include activities organized around the theme "Knowledge, Power and Diversity." CIFAR creates knowledge that is transforming our world. Established in 1982, the Institute brings together interdisciplinary groups of extraordinary researchers from around the globe to address questions and challenges of importance to the world. Our networks help support the growth of research leaders and are catalysts for change in business, government and society. CIFAR is generously supported by the governments of Canada, British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, Canadian and international partners, as well as individuals, foundations and corporations.


Maciejko J.,University of Alberta | Maciejko J.,Canadian Institute for Advanced Research | Fiete G.A.,University of Texas at Austin
Nature Physics | Year: 2015

Topological insulators have emerged as a major topic of condensed matter physics research, with several novel applications proposed. Although there are now a number of established experimental examples of materials in this class, all of them can be described by theories based on electronic band structure, which implies that they do not possess electronic correlations strong enough to fundamentally change this theoretical description. Here, we review recent theoretical progress in the description of a class of strongly correlated topological insulators - fractionalized topological insulators - where band theory fails owing to the fractionalization of the electron into other degrees of freedom.


Garate I.,University of British Columbia | Garate I.,Canadian Institute for Advanced Research | Franz M.,University of British Columbia
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2010

When a ferromagnet is deposited on the surface of a topological insulator the topologically protected surface state develops a gap and becomes a two-dimensional quantum Hall liquid. We demonstrate that the Hall current in such a liquid, induced by an external electric field, can have a dramatic effect on the magnetization dynamics of the ferromagnet by changing the effective anisotropy field. This change is dissipationless and may be substantial even in weakly spin-orbit coupled ferromagnets. We study the possibility of dissipationless current-induced magnetization reversal in monolayer-thin, insulating ferromagnets with a soft perpendicular anisotropy and discuss possible applications of this effect. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

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