Senthil Todadri and Xiao-Gang Wen to study highly entangled quantum matter in the Simons Collaboration on Ultra-Quantum Matter

Professor Senthil Todadri and Xiao-Gang Wen are members of the newly established Simons Collaboration on Ultra-Quantum Matter. This new effort is an $8M four-year collaborative grant, renewable for three additional years, funded by the Simons Foundation, and supporting a team of 17 theoretical physics faculty at MIT  and 11 other institutions:  Caltech,  CU Boulder, Harvard, the Institute for Advanced Study, MIT, Stanford, University of California Santa Barbara, University of California San Diego, the University of Chicago, the University of Innsbruck, University of Maryland, and University of Washington.

The collaboration, directed by Professor Ashvin Vishwanath at Harvard, is part of the Simons Collaborations in Mathematics and Physical Sciences program, which aims to “stimulate progress on fundamental scientific questions of major importance in mathematics, theoretical physics and theoretical computer science.”  The Simons Collaboration on Ultra-Quantum Matter will be one of 12 such collaborative grants ranging across these fields.

The science of the Collaboration is based on a series of recent developments in theoretical physics, revealing that even large macroscopic systems which consist of many atoms or electrons — i.e. matter — can behave in an essentially quantum way.  Such ultra-quantum matter (UQM), named for its characteristic non-local quantum entanglement, allows for quantum phenomena beyond what can be realized by individual atoms or electrons, including distributed storage of quantum information, fractional quantum numbers, perfect conducting boundary, and more.  While some examples of UQM, such as the quantum Hall states, have been experimentally established, many more have been theoretically proposed, ranging from highly entangled topological state to unconventional metals  behave like a complex soup.  The Simons Collaboration on Ultra-Quantum Matter will classify possible forms of UQM, understand their physical properties, and provide the key ideas to enable new realizations of UQM in the lab.  In particular, the Collaboration will draw upon lessons from recently discovered connections between topological states of matter and unconventional metals, and seek to develop a new theoretical framework for those phases of ultra-quantum matter.  Achieving these goals will require ideas and tools from multiple areas of theoretical physics, and accordingly the Collaboration brings together experts in condensed matter physics, quantum field theory, quantum information and atomic physics, to forge a new interdisciplinary approach.

It worth to mention that many members of the UQM Collaboration are alumni of MIT. They include Leon Balents, Xie Chen, John McGreevy, Michael Hermele, Michael Levin, Ashvin Vishwanath.