NWO Physics Projectruimte Grants for Toeno van der Sar (Delft/QN), and Koenraad Schalm and Jan Zaanen (Leiden)


The board of NWO’s Domain Science has granted funding for eight proposals in the NWO Physics Projectruimte, a granting instrument for small-scale projects that propose innovative fundamental physics research that has a scientific, industrial or social urgency. Two of these projects are awarded to  our PIs Toeno van der Sar (Delft/QN), and Koenraad Schalm and Jan Zaanen (Leiden).

This is a short description of their proposals:

Imaging spin waves on the nanoscale
Dr T. van der Sar (TUD)
Spin waves – waves in magnetic materials – are promising on-chip signal carriers of the future. Spin-wave nanotechnology is however in its infancy, because they are challenging to control and measure at the nanoscale. In this project, the researchers will develop a microscope that detects spin waves by using a diamond sensor to image their magnetic fields at nanometer distances. The goal is to understand spin-wave transport in elementary spin-wave nanocircuits, made of recently developed, atomically-thin magnetic materials.

Planckian dissipation and quantum thermalization: from black holes to strange metals 
Prof. K.E. Schalm, Prof. J.J. Zaanen (LEI)
The laws of quantum mechanics rule at the scale of the smallest particles. Those seem counterintuitive to us, since we are used to materials’ behavior at everyday length scales. We consider these ‘normal’. We don’t notice their microscopic behavior at the quantum scale. However, so-called ‘strange metals’— like high-temperature superconductors—behave ‘abnormal’ at everyday length scales. In this project, we will show that one type of this abnormal behavior—a relaxation time to thermal equilibrium which solely depends on Planck’s constant and temperature—indeed occurs because strange metals are completely made of quantum material. Surprisingly, these turn out to share this behavior with black holes.