New ERC grant at the Institute of Physics CAS will focus on the study of exotic states of magnetic materials

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The solid, liquid and gaseous state of matter are common knowledge. However, the number of different states in which materials may exist is in principle unlimited. One of the prime goals of condensed matter physics is to understand the properties of these states and to predict the transitions between them. Jan Kuneš from the Department of condensed matter theory of the Institute of Physics CAS was awarded a prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant to study exotic states of new magnetic materials.

The project named EXMAG (Excitonic magnetism of strongly correlated materials) is focused on the investigation of the physical properties of the so-called exciton condensate. This is a state of strongly interacting electron liquid that was predicted theoretically, also in recent publications of Kuneš group. The aim of the project is to calculate the physical properties of the exciton condensate under various conditions, identify those with application potential, and propose materials where they can be realized.

The distribution of magnetization density induced by exciton condensation in the crystal of Pr0.5Ca0.5CoO3

The grant, the second individual ERC grant at the Institute of Physics (after the ERC Advanced Grant of Tomáš Jungwirth), allows Kuneš to expand his group substantially (two postdocs and two PhD students will be hired) and it provides group financial support for the next five years. The main tool to execute the project will be a parallel computer that will be also purchased from the grant money for about 150,000 EUR. This computer will enable to perform extensive quantum-mechanical calculations and it will also provide the environment for the development of the necessary computer code. Such code development is difficult in the framework of typical operations of existing supercomputing centres.

After obtaining PhD at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the Charles University in 2002, Jan Kuneš spent several years at the University of California Davis and the University of Augsburg, Germany. In 2010 he returned to the Institute of Physic sponsored by the Fellowship J. E. Purkyně of the Czech Academy of Sciences.