2 Minutes with Andrea Damascelli
January 24, 2012
Over the past 50 years, developments in condensed matter physics have paved the way for technology we use every day. This includes the creation of integrated computer circuits that led to the digital revolution which spawned text messaging, debit payments and streaming video, as well as biomedical applications such as magnetic resonance imaging used in hospitals. Andrea Damascelli, is poised to take the knowledge that spurs such innovations to the next level.
The effort of my group and my own effort in research in the last eight years at UBC has been twofold. On the one hand, we are really striving for the creation of new materials and the understanding of those materials. And when I say new materials, I refer to systems that we call quantum materials which are—whose properties are dominated by the quantum mechanical interactions between, for instance, the charge of an electron and the spin of an electron.
As an example of quantum materials, probably the best known is that of high-temperature superconductors. Well, these materials are materials that not only are very interesting for potential application but really they do defy our traditional understanding. And that’s where new science, new concepts and new intuition come about and have to be created.
The other part of the effort of course is to develop the tools that we use for this study. And in particular, in our case, you’re looking at electrons—electrons moving inside a solid—and what we want to do is to go and measure the direction of motion, measure their velocity, measure their spins, all of the quantum mechanical properties.
And so together with UBC and the Canadian Light Source, we have created first the Quantum Material Laboratory here at UBC and now we are working towards the next big thing, in our case is the creation of the Quantum Materials Spectroscopy Centre. This would be a beamline facility, at a national level, that will be used for the study and creation of novel quantum materials.