By Chris Putnam
A University of Saskatchewan (USask) research centre dedicated to the study of new quantum materials has been named the latest Collaborative Research Group (CRG) by the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS).
The Centre for Quantum Topology and its Applications (quanTA), based in the College of Arts and Science, takes an interdisciplinary approach to the mathematics and physics of novel quantum materials.
Funding through the award will total $200,000 over three years. QuanTA is one of two new PIMS CRGs in Western Canada.
“With this funding, we will be able to train a new generation of researchers who will be able to shape the evolution of this emerging science and its plethora of real-world applications,” said Dr. Steven Rayan (PhD), director of quanTA and a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
Launched in 2019, quanTA’s research goals are inspired by the discovery of topological materials, a group of quantum materials that have driven major advances in condensed matter physics.
“The Canadian economy is experiencing a revolution in the form of quantum technologies: start-ups and larger firms dedicating themselves to quantum computing, quantum materials and quantum sensing, to name a few directions,” said Rayan. “While these industries have experienced tremendous growth, they require ideas and solutions from academic teams taking a deep look at the science under the hood.”
The research centre has also received support from the College of Arts and Science, the University of Saskatchewan, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the federal New Frontiers in Research Fund.
The new funding from PIMS enables quanTA to grow from a USask research centre to a multi-site research collaboration extending across Western Canada, said Rayan.
“In particular, the award provides funding for inter-site travel, for large-scale events that gather researchers around the research problems … and for hiring postdoctoral fellows who will divide their time between sites. These interactions will incubate new research ideas coming from our unusual mixture of pure mathematics with other sciences.”
The new postdoctoral fellows will work collaboratively at USask, the University of Manitoba and the University of Alberta.
QuanTA’s membership also includes faculty and students from four departments of the College of Arts and Science as well as external members from Innovation Enterprise, the University of Ottawa, the University of Alberta and the University of Manitoba.