Materials research is at the heart of many important challenges facing the nation and the world — from those concerning the more efficient use of energy to the development of a new generation of electronics. A defining feature of the research approach at PCCM are the three interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs) comprised of scientists and engineers from several Princeton departments. The IRGs are tight-knit collaborations among researchers with complementary expertise spanning materials synthesis, advanced characterization and theoretical modeling who work together to address challenges at the forefront of materials research. The PCCM seed program nucleates novel research directions and integrates new faculty into PCCM as leaders of a seed project.
This research group seeks to expand the search for novel topological quantum properties of electrons in insulators, semiconductors and semimetals. This research is promising for enabling future electronics with ultra-low heat dissipation, and enabling novel approaches to quantum computing. Currently, the long-established Bloch theory of crystalline solids is undergoing revision because of topological principles neglected in Bloch theory. Semiconductors in which the energy gap is "inverted" (relative to the atomic limit) exhibit surface states occupied by massless Dirac fermions. Using scanning tunneling microscopy, transport and photoemission experiments, researchers will test key predictions of the new perspective, and search for new topological phases and excitations (e.g. Majorana fermions).
This research group combines two new technologies that enable the growth of very thin polymer films with specialized physical properties critical for applications in many industries. One approach will apply a laser-ablation technique called MAPLE to grow and investigate ultrathin polymer films deposited under novel conditions that dramatically raise the glass-transition temperature. Combining expertise in fluorescence, nanoscale imaging and simulation, they will address the technologically important issue of why the thermodynamic properties (e.g. the glass transition) of confined polymers differ dramatically from those in bulk polymers.
This research group addresses a challenging problem in the quest for quantum computing, namely how to couple well-separated qubits without losing quantum information. Applying recent advances, they will coherently couple spin qubits using microwave photons trapped in a high-Q superconducting resonator. A serendipitous benefit is the discovery of lasing action. In a parallel effort, experiments to achieve very long spin coherence lifetimes in isotopically pure silicon are proposed. Advances will lead to logic elements for quantum computing as well as a new class of broadly tunable lasers.
The PCCM seed program provides flexibility in responding to emerging research directions and for pursuing high-risk/high-impact, transformative research. Intellectual merit is the overriding factor, but special consideration is given to pre-tenure faculty and newly hired faculty at all ranks. In the past decade, junior faculty have led more than two-thirds of the selected seeds.The PCCM seed program provides flexibility in responding to emerging research directions and for pursuing high-risk/high-impact, transformative research. Intellectual merit is the overriding factor, but special consideration is given to pre-tenure faculty and newly hired faculty at all ranks. In the past decade, junior faculty have led more than two-thirds of the selected seeds.
- Seed 9: Synthesis of new topological materials (PI: Leslie M. Schoop, Chemistry)
- Seed 10: Architecting soft functional materials with capillary instabilities (PI: Pierre-Thomas Brun, CBE)
- Seed 11: Exploring correlated and topological quantum phases in twisted bilayer crystals (PI: Sanfeng Wu, Physics)
- Seed 12: New topological materials: Insights from machine learning and strong correlations (PI: Nicolas Regnault, Physics)
- iSuperSeed: Harnessing the "Rules of Life" to enable bio-inspired soft materials (PIs: Howard Stone (MAE), Sujit Datta (CBE), Andrej Košmrlj (MAE), Clifford Brangwynne (CBE), Bonnie Bassler (MolBio)
Note to PCCM investigators regarding acknowledgement text for publications:
For primary and/or partially supported publications:
“This research was primarily (partially) supported by NSF through the Princeton University (PCCM) Materials Research Science and Engineering Center DMR-1420541/ Additional support received from ...”
For shared facilities (no direct MRSEC support, but research and subsequent publication were directly impacted by use of shared MRSEC facilities), suggested acknowledgement text: “The authors acknowledge the use of facilities and instrumentation supported by NSF through the Princeton University (PCCM) Materials Research Science and Engineering Center DMR-1420541.”