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Two Out of Five Awarded FOM grants go to LION

Today, two out of the five awarded FOM Project Space subsidies have been granted to the Leiden Institute of Physics (LION). The Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) divides a total of 2.2 million euro amongst the five winning research groups. Prof. Jan Zaanen and prof. Koenraad Schalm receive a grant for research on ‘The strange metals: when quantum entanglement reaches its extreme’. Prof. Michel Orrit was granted money for his proposal called ‘An optical GPS for single electrons’. With the subsidy—around 500,000 euro—he is able to hire a PhD student for the full four years, plus a post-doc researcher for one year, and make some investments.

‘The main goal is to optically observe a single charge in a metallic island, which is often a golden nano particle,’ says Orrit. He will charge this nano particle through electron tunneling, and measure this with a single molecule. Orrit was thrilled to hear about the news. ‘I only saw it a few hours ago when I opened my email. I’m very happy with this grant and it couldn’t have come at a better time. With a new PhD student we have a perfect overlap. I was afraid of losing a lot of knowledge in my group because one of my researchers is leaving soon.’

Zaanen and Schalm receive the equivalent of five post-doc years to execute theoretical research on highly collective forms of entanglement in strange metals. These strange metals are famous for their very peculiar physical properties that cannot be explained with established many-particle quantum physics. Resting on mathematical methods developed in string theory (holographic duality) the two Leiden professors will explore the hypothesis that strange metals are maximally entangled states of quantum matter—a type of matter different from the everyday matter that we experience in daily life. Zaanen: ‘This research is the most exciting thing today in ultramodern physics. We might revolutionise our understanding of the world in the way Einstein did back in the 1910’s.’ FOM Project Space subsidies
Publ. 08-07-2015 18:20
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