Understanding magnetism and magnetic systems
Since the discovery in 1987 of high temperature superconductivity—or zero electrical resistance—in a class of copper-based magnetic oxide materials, condensed matter physicists have sought to understand the role that magnetism may play in the phenomenon. Particular attention has been paid to the novel type of magnetic ground states that may arise in magnetic systems in which the magnetic “forces” (or interactions) are "frustrated" either by their unique geometry or by a number of mutually competing interactions.
As Canada Research Chair in Condensed Matter Theory and Statistical Mechanics, Dr. Michel Gingras will continue his ongoing work on frustrated magnetism, focusing on the extreme sensitivity to thermal and quantum fluctuations, as well as to random impurities, exhibited by magnetic materials.
His research will also expose the role of restricted geometries and boundary conditions (for example, in thin film geometries) on the properties of highly frustrated magnetic systems. He will also apply theories from the field of frustrated magnetism to the nascent problem of strongly polar molecules, such as water (H2O) confined in crystals of C60 fullerene (“buckyball”) cages.
Even partial answers to these queries will make an important contribution to the field of condensed matter and statistical mechanics. This will also have impacts on broader areas of materials research and practical relevance, potentially leading to radical advances in existing technologies, or to the development of entirely new ones.
In addition, Gingras will be working with early-career scientists, which will allow them to hone their skills, particularly in the area of computing algorithms and highly sought-after expertise in large-scale computing and Big Data Science.