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  • The controlled manipulation of exotic quasiparticles known as anyons, a process known as “braiding,” is the basis of a powerful computational paradigm known as topological quantum computing. Substantial effort is currently being devoted to realizing such excitations in semiconductor heterostructures, but the milestone of braiding has yet to be achieved in such systems. ISU faculty member Thomas Iadecola is part of a research team that has recently demonstrated the possibility of braiding topological defects in photonic systems, whose properties mimic many of the salient features of their quantum counterparts.

  • Assistant Professor Peter P. Orth received the 2020 Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. The award provides a support of $100K for Orth's research into "Probing Fractionalization and Entanglement in Quantum Spin Liquids: Theory of Two-dimensional Spectroscopy". The award also recognize Orth's educational plan at Iowa State with the goal "to increase retention and recruitment of students from underrepresented groups in STEM fields by designing a transdisciplinary team-based learning course on quantum computing that is integrated with a learning community". 

  • Paul Canfield, who designs and discovers new materials and properties, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    Canfield is a Distinguished Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Robert Allen Wright Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa State University. He’s also a senior scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory.

    More information can be found in the Iowa State University press release

  • Zhe Fei, assistant professor of physics, received an NSF CAREER grant for a proposal titled “Exploring chiral edge plasmons in novel two-dimensional materials.” The estimated total award amount is $588,818. More information about the award can be found the Iowa State University Press Release.

  • We are pleased to welcome Dr. Thomas Iadecola to the condensed matter physics group in our department.  He received his PhD from Boston University under the supervision of Prof. Claudio Chamon in 2017.  He has been a JQI Theoretical Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Maryland, College Park from 2017 - 2019.  Tom works on a variety of topics in quantum condensed matter theory, with special emphasis on out-of-equilibrium quantum systems and topological states of matter. On the nonequilibrium side, he studies properties of highly-excited many-body states and the surprising phenomena they harbor that challenge deeply ingrained intuition based on quantum statistical mechanics.

  • Condensed Matter Physics faculty members participate in the new DOE Center for the Advancement of Topological Semimetals (CATS) that was recently established. The Department of Energy (DOE) will award Ames Laboratory $10.75 million in funding over four years for a new Center for Advancement of Topological Semimetals, one of DOE’s newest Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs).

    More information can be found in the ISU Daily Article.

  • The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa State University (ISU) seeks candidates for faculty positions at a junior level for a cluster of positions in theoretical physics and astrophysics. 

    More details can be found in the job advertisment. 

    Applications, including three letters of recommendation, must be submitted online by December 3, 2018 to guarantee full consideration.

  • Scientists at Ames Laboratory will develop a hybrid quantum and classical computational tool to calculate the properties of quantum materials such as superconductors and rare-earth compounds, funded by an award for $600,000 per year for three years from the U.S. Department of Energy.

    The project, formally named “Quantum Computing Enhanced Gutzwiller Variational Embedding Method for Correlated Multi-Orbital Materials,” will be led by Ames Laboratory Scientist Yongxin Yao, who is an expert in computational and theoretical condensed matter physics. Principal investigators include Ames Laboratory Scientists Peter P. Orth, Cai-Zhuang Wang, and Kai-Ming Ho.

  • An article published by Iowa State University Professor and Ames Laboratory researcher Ruslan Prozorov and his group -- "Using controlled disorder to probe the interplay between charge order and superconductivity in NbSe2 (pdf)" -- was one of the most read Nature Communications physics articles in 2018. The article was number 18 out of the 50 most-read articles, based on data from, covering January-December 2018.

    Nature Communications published more than 5,000 papers in 2018. The full list of Top 50 articles across the four main Nature Communications research areas is available by visiting

  • A team lead by Iowa State Professor and Ames Laboratory Researcher Jigang Wang demonstrated that THz light can be used to control some of the essential quantum properties of superconducting states, including macroscopic supercurrent flowing, broken symmetry and accessing certain very high frequency quantum oscillations thought to be forbidden by symmetry.

  • Ames Laboratory Scientist Vladimir Kogan was awarded the Abrikosov Prize in Vortex Matter today at the International Workshop on Vortex Matter in Superconductors, at a ceremony in Antwerp, Belgium.

    As written on the workshop website: "The laureates of the 2019 Abrikosov prize areProf. Vladimir Kogan and Prof. Eli Zeldov, for their pioneering contributions to understanding vortices in high-Tc superconductors."

    Press Release from Ames Laboratory.

  • Collaborating scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Princeton University have discovered a new layered ferromagnetic semiconductor, a rare type of material that holds great promise for next-generation electronic technologies.

    The Ames Lab Press Release is found here.

  • Congratulations to Alan Goldman for winning the Marie Dubois Award for Excellence in Quasicrystal Research.  The Award was established to recognize important, sustained research on any aspect of quasicrystals within the 10-year period preceding the award.  Alan is the first recipient from the U.S. and will receive the award at the International Conference on Quasicrystals in Slovenia this May. 

    More Information can be found here:

  • Costas M. Soukoulis, Ames Laboratory senior scientist and Iowa State University Frances M. Craig Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor, has been named as a 2018 National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Fellow.

    Soukoulis was chosen for induction having “demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society.” 

    More Information can be found in the Ames Laboratory Press Release. 

  • Recent research of Ames Lab Scientist and ISU Professor Rana Biswas together with colleagues from Engineering Departments on nanostructures  has been featured in this month's Physics Today - May 2018 - volume 5, page 72-  in the section Back Scatter on the last page of the issue. 

    The title of the feature is "A nanovolcano array". It can also be viewed online at

    More information can also be found in the News website from the College of Engineering. 

  • Scientists at Ames Laboratory have discovered a state of magnetism that may be the missing link to understanding the relationship between magnetism and unconventional superconductivity. The research, recently published in npj Nature Quantum Materials, provides tantalizing new possibilities for attaining superconducting states in iron-based materials.

  • The catchphrase "Bazinga!" - a zinger commonly uttered by Dr. Sheldon Cooper, a fictional theoretical physicist on the famous TV show "The Big Bang Theory" - has inspired the creation of a novel ternary compound BaZnGa by Paul C. Canfield, Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and Na Hyun Jo, a graduate student of physics in Canfield's lab.

    The original preprint can be found here.

  • Jigang Wang, Zhe Fei, Paul C. Canfield and Costas Soukoulis are working to build a powerful instrument capable of exploring and tuning materials in ways that could help solve the world’s energy, information processing and data storage needs.

    The researchers call their proposed instrument an extreme quantum terahertz nanoscope.

    The W.M. Keck Foundation of Los Angeles – one of the country’s largest philanthropic organizations – recently awarded a three-year, $1.3 million grant to support construction, commissioning and initial use of the nanoscope. The project will be known as the W.M. Keck Initiative in Ultrafast Quantum Microscopy of Emergent Orders.

    Read more at the press release

  • Iowa State University physicist Paul Canfield, who develops new materials with novel properties, has received a five-year, $1.7 million Moore Materials Synthesis Investigators award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation of Palo Alto, Calif.

    Canfield and his research team will use the funds to further their work in the discovery of new electronic and magnetic compounds – often in single-crystal form – and the study of their electrical, magnetic and thermal properties. These scientific discoveries can lead to new technologies or products that improve the lives of people around the world.

    Read the full article

  • Michael C. Tringides received the 2017 Theodore E. Madey Award from the American Vacuum Society for his excellence in internationally collaborative research.

    Tringides, a scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Ames Laboratory and a professor of physics and astronomy at Iowa State University explores how atoms move on surfaces. The process is essential in making nanotechnologies, such as computer transistors of much smaller size.

    According to Tringides, a computer’s speed depends on how far the electrons have to go across transistors. Current computer transistors may have hundreds of atoms along a linear dimension. Tringides hopes his work will be used to reduce that to only two or three.

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