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, one of NSERC’s 2011 E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship recipients, is poised to take the knowledge that spurs such innovations to the next level. Dr. Damascelli, of the University of British Columbia, works in one of the most advanced areas of condensed matter physics—quantum materials. These are systems that exhibit new electronic properties that defy our understanding and predictive ability. Such properties include high-temperature superconductivity, unconventional magnetism and exotic phases of matter.
Dr. Damascelli’s research focuses on the electronic structure of a type of superconducting materials known as unconventional oxide superconductors. His work has gained global recognition and helped make Canada a leader in the field of photoelectron spectroscopy—a highly sophisticated technique that images the energy and velocity of electrons propagating inside a material. Advances in the field will help answer fundamental questions in condensed matter physics and lead to new concepts and understanding. The knowledge gained from Dr. Damascelli’s research can be used to create entirely new forms of materials with far-reaching technological implications.
To further advance his ideas, Dr. Damascelli is designing and building the Quantum Materials Spectroscopy Centre in Saskatoon. There, he will partner with the Canadian Light Source—one of the largest scientific projects in Canada and one of the most sophisticated synchrotrons in the world.
The new centre will strengthen Canada’s leadership in developing electronic materials with never-before-seen quantum electronic properties. These breakthroughs are expected to lead to new applications in communications and information technology, energy and health.