Helmholtz Virtual Institute: New states of matter and their excitations

The collective behaviour of matter is one of the central topics of modern science. The incredible richness of metals, magnets and superconductors has provided excitement for many decades. This is true not only for fundamental sciences but also for materials physics: These systems form the basis for innumerable technological applications which define the modern era. The quest for fundamentally new states of matter is therefore a central enterprise at the intersection of basic and applied science, and a systematic understanding of the new states of matter is crucial for technological innovation in the long-term, the quest for the quantum computer being a case in point. Now a revolution is underway in the way we search for new states: the search for topological states of quantum matter. Here several breakthroughs have recently come together which are uniting researchers from different backgrounds to understand the special features of these remarkable states and how to exploit them. Because of the potential impact of these breakthroughs, in part due to the promise of constructing a topological quantum computer, large-scale funding is being targeted in different European, Asian and North America settings and as of 2012 there was no comparable effort in Germany, even though globally important players in the field in fact resided here. The Helmholtz Virtual Institute (VI) aimed to bring together leading researchers to meet this scientific challenge and takes the first step at organising such a community, training young researchers for the future, and bringing together the complementary expertise of the researchers in Germany and their collaborators worldwide.

Funding of the Virtual Institute expired 30 June 2016.

  • More information on the specific projects: Overview
  • Funding: Helmholtz Association
  • Leading Center: Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH
  • German University Partners: U Augsburg, TU Berlin, FU Berlin, TU Dortmund, TU Dresden, U Göttingen
  • International Partners: Princeton University (USA), University of Oxford (UK), University of La Plata (Argentinien), California Institute of Technology (USA), SNS Oak Ridge National Laboratory (USA), University of Cambridge (UK)
  • Associated National Partners: MPI PkS and MPI CPfs (Dresden), HU Berlin, TU München, RWTH Aachen, HZDR Rossendorf.