Stone was indispensable for the Stone Age, bronze for the Bronze Age and iron for the Iron Age. Quantum matter is equally indispensable for the digital 21st century. This class of materials befits an enormous array of potential applications in all advanced technologies — ranging from information processing to energy supply to medical technology. However, before it can be widely utilised, additional fundamental research is necessary. With the approved collaborative Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat — Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter, TU Dresden (TUD) and the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) want to lay the foundation for a globally leading centre for quantum materials research. Researchers from the fields of physics, chemistry and materials science will cooperate to understand, control and apply topological states of quantum matter.
A revolutionary discovery in the 21st century was that the mathematical field of topology is the fundamental key to understanding quantum-mechanical states of matter, which sparked a scientific boom across the globe. Topology describes the properties of objects that are preserved under continuous deformation. This led to the discovery of an abundance of new topological materials and phenomena. Key contributions came from Würzburg (observation of quantum spin Hall effect) and Dresden (prediction of magnetic monopoles in spin ice).
Since then, Dresden and Würzburg have become leading locations for the exploration of topological materials in Germany. Besides the two universities, non-university institutions partners are significantly involved, among them the IFW Dresden. Further partners are the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solidsas well as the Bavarian Center for Applied Energy Research (ZAE) in Würzburg.