SUPA initiative: Quantum Ordering under Extreme Conditions

By pooling its strengths in Novel States of Quantum Order and Extreme Conditions Physics, SUPA has created a major initiative to explore states of quantum order arising under extremes of high pressure, low temperature and high magnetic field. By varying these parameters it should be possible to explore emergent phenomena with unprecedented precision and, we hope, to access entirely new states of matter so far unforeseen. One fascinating area is that of "quantum criticality" in which a solid is forced to undergo a change from one state of magnetic order to another at very low temperature. This creates a competition between kinetic and potential energies of the electrons, producing giant fluctuations and exotic material properties, yet to be explored.

A major intellectual and technical commitment within SUPA is to combine the extreme pressures available at CSEC with the expertise of St Andrews in superconducting materials, to control and explore the resulting new phases of matter. These phases may underpin new information technologies for the 21st century.

To learn of job opportunities relating to this initiative, visit SUPA Jobs Pages.

The boundaries of a candidate new quantum phase first observed recently in St. Andrews. This may be an exotic form of magnetic order based on spontaneous anisotropic Fermi surface distortion. (See S.A. Grigera et al., Science 306, 1152 (2004).)