ERC Starting Grant for Said Rodriguez
AMOLF group leader Said Rodriguez (Interacting Photons) has received a Starting Grant of 1.5 million Euros from the European Research Council (ERC). The project is entitled “Strongly CORrelated Polaritons In Optoelectronic Nanostructures” (SCORPION), and it will last 5 years. The ERC uses this grant to support talented early-career scientists who have already produced excellent research, and show potential to be a research leader.
Rodriguez will use the grant to study phase transitions of strongly coupled light and matter. Conventional phase transitions of matter, such as boiling, freezing, and condensation, display some of the most fascinating collective behavior found in nature. Rodriguez aims to achieve similar effects for light and matter simultaneously, by making matter strongly interact with light confined between two mirrors.
The project has two potentially ground-breaking results in the horizon. One goal is to simulate the spontaneous magnetization of materials at low temperatures with photons. Once realized, such a photonic quantum simulator may be able to solve some of the hardest outstanding problems in optimization with all-optical control and read-out. These are problems that map to finding the ground state of certain magnetic materials, and for which no efficient algorithm exists. The other aim of the project is to improve the transport properties of electrons in materials by coupling them to light. A potential breakthrough in this direction may be the observation of high-temperature light-induced superconductivity.
Picture: Lukas Helmbrecht