Quantum Matter and Functional Materials

Casimir activities in this area range from fundamental studies of materials that defy description through conventional textbook classifications, to material studies of complex chemical reactions with major industrial relevance.

Emergence: Fascinating developments are taking place in the field of condensed matter physics and functional materials. New materials have been discovered which cannot be described using conventional concepts such as band structures. Their complexity is largely due to strong particle interactions. Subtle differences in the interactions may lead to a material being magnetic, insulating, or superconducting. Casimir researchers pursue the search for the relevant concepts to describe such materials both theoretically and experimentally.

String theory is one of the dominant approaches for reconciling quantum mechanics and general relativity. It describes the physics at the very largest scale of black holes and cosmology and at the smallest scale of elementary particles. More recently much attention has been drawn to a property known as the AdS/CFT correspondence, by which models in string theory can be mapped onto models in conformal field theory. The Casimir groups of Zaanen and Schalm are pioneering attempts to reveal the relevance and applicability of the AdS/CFT correspondence to describe various condensed matter systems.    

Catalysts: The development of more efficient catalysts for industrial chemical reactions is one of the most economically relevant research goals. Scanning probe studies of catalysis are usually done under very idealized conditions with limited relevance for real catalysts. The group of Frenken (Leiden) has recently developed new instruments that permit working under “industrial” conditions while the actual chemical processes are taking place. This has led to joint projects with industrial partners such as Albemarle, Haldor Topsøe, and Shell. Casimir researchers are now pushing the imaging resolution towards the atomic scale.

Take a look at our positions:
Positions PhD
Positions Postdocs:

Researchers in the field of Quantum Matter and Functional Materials

  • Jan Aarts, Leiden
  • Milan Allan, Leiden
  • Ekkes Brueck, Delft
  • Vadim Cheianov, Leiden
  • Peter Denteneer, Leiden
  • Niels van Dijk, Delft
  • Stephan Eijt, Delft
  • Eliska Greplova, Delft
  • Teun Klapwijk, Delft
  • Fokko Mulder, Delft
  • Toeno van der Sar, Delft
  • Frans Tichelaar, Delft
  • Rudolf Tromp, Leiden