Quantum leap: U.S. Department of Energy funds physicist's work on condensed matter, quantum systems
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science has selected Romain Vasseur, assistant professor of physics, to receive significant funding for research, $150,000 per year for five years, as part of its Early Career Research Program. He is among 85 scientists from 55 from universities and 30 national laboratories who received awards from the program, which is now in its ninth year.
Vasseur, who is a condensed matter theorist working on strongly correlated quantum systems, received support for his project titled, “Quantum criticality and topology in non-equilibrium systems,” as part of DOE’s Basic Energy Sciences program.
The DOE grant will fund Vasseur’s work to understand new quantum phenomena and phases of matter in non-equilibrium systems. Such systems are inherently “dynamical,” that is, they are described not by changes in the arrangement or structure of the constituent particles, but instead marked by sharp distinctions in how the particles move and exchange energy or quantum information.
“I feel deeply honored to receive this award,” he says. “This is a great opportunity to understand strongly interacting quantum systems far from thermal equilibrium.”
While Vasseur's work is mostly regarded as fundamental science, the topics he is exploring are of great interest to large companies, such as Google and Microsoft, which are also trying to understand how quantum information can be stored and manipulated.
Before coming to campus, Vasseur was a postdoctoral fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory working in the Condensed Matter Theory Center at the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his Ph.D. at Institute Physical Théorique, Saclay, France, and the Laboratoire de Physique Théorique Ecole Normal Supérieure, Paris.