Yearly Report
“Materials for the Quantum Age (QuMat)” 2022 - 2023

Introductory words

Dear reader, you are holding the first yearly report of the “Materials for the Quantum Age (QuMat)” gravity project, funded by OCW.

In the first period of QuMat (2022-2027), we have planned yearly reports to summarize our progress. You will read about the education of our young scientists (PhDs, postdocs), the scientific progress they have made in the year (description and publications), their plans for the coming year, and the collaborations they have within the QuMat consortium and outside.

We also present the progress in related projects of our staff outside QuMat, where it is appropriate.

This first year has kept us busy with the hiring of PhD students and postdocs, bringing the consortium together and forging a community. Although most students have just started, there are already some exciting results that you can read about in this report.

This yearly report will keep us – as QuMat researchers – updated on each other’s work. We also aim to give our various advisory and supervisory boards an impression of QuMat’s activities and scientific progress.

Best Regards

Daniel Vanmaekelbergh (Director)

The EB board & QuMat Office

The program in a nutshell, context and aims

Context: Materials for the Quantum Age – QuMat – is a Dutch research program under the Gravity Program initiative of the ministery of Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap (OCW). It runs from 1 October 2022 to 30 September 2032 in two periods of five years. QuMat encompasses a collaboration between researchers in Utrecht, Delft, Groningen, Nijmegen, Eindhoven, and Twente. With a budget of 27 million EUR, QuMat will hire 30 PhD students and postdocs in the years 2022-2023 and another 30 PhD students and postdocs in the years 2027-2028. QuMat’s mission is to initiate an enduring and world-leading research program on quantum materials, i.e. materials that show quantum coherency, extended in space and time.

Within the Dutch context, QuMat’s research is in line with the “Nationale Wetenschaps Agenda (NWA)” and its aims are well connected to NWA routes “the quantum / nano revolution” and “Materials – made in Holland”. Its focus on the development and improvement of quantum material platforms strengthens the “National Agenda Quantum Technology”, which lays down the ambition to position the Netherlands as a world-leading center for quantum information processing. It is the aim of the QuMat staff to connect to comparable Dutch and international research programs. We welcome interested researchers working in the Netherlands as affiliated researchers at our meetings and see if new collaborations and research initiatives are meaningful. Also, in all educational meetings PhD students at Dutch universities are explicitly welcome.

Aim: Silicon forms the basis of the current information society, instrumental in increasing human welfare.

However, there is a never-ending demand for more powerful computing. Moreover, information processing has to become more energy-efficient to keep our society sustainable.

The Materials for the Quantum Age program will design, fabricate and characterize low-dimensional (hybrid) materials with electronic, magnetic, superconductive or even more complex coherent quantum states that hold coherency over the material’s length scale and considerable times. This goal will be reached by proximity engineering, thus combining two-dimensional material layers of different nature in an atomic precise way to create new phenomena or enhance desirable properties. QuMat aims to demonstrate proto-type materials with robust quantum states, which at the same time are scalable and affordable. For instance, materials with coherent transport up to room temperature could form nondissipative information channels between groups of processors. Materials with robust qubit states up to affordable temperatures would allow to upscale quantum computing platforms.

The Four Pillars, a brief overview

The four pillars directly connect to the distinct nature of the envisaged quantum states:
1. quantum spin Hall insulators with topologically protected (electronic) quantum channels,
2. two-dimensional magnets in which we aim at quantum control of spins,
3. topological superconductors with exotic quantum states that may serve as robust non-Abelian qubits well protected against the environment,
4. light-matter interfaces for the interconversion or hybridization of topological quantum states with photons.
QuMat will also sharpen and extend the design, synthesis, and characterisation methods in a programbroad Methods & Techniques platform. In terms of organisation of the QuMat research meetings, this platform will be considered as the “5th pillar”.

QuMat education, outreach and activities

The QuMat Management office

The QuMat Management office, staffed by Mikael Fremling and Pauline van Elsdingen, is engaged in most QuMat education and outreach activities. The Office has organized all the meetings of QuMat, including the Kick-off, Pillar meeting, a site visit to Utrecht for the early careers researchers. The Offfice is also working closely with Radboud University in organizing the Yearly meeting. The Office has also organized the QuMat/condensed matter physics seminar series in Utrecht.
The Office runs the QuMat website. The website has a public part with information about the various projects, lists of publications acknowledging QuMat, the QuMat seminars and events. There is also a restricted part of the website where researchers can view internal documents related to QuMat and upload/change information in the list of publications. PhD student can also log their teaching and research activities relevant to QuMat. The aim is to use the self-recorded information in the yearly reports.


The outreach committee is in the stage of planning demonstrators (e.g. Marcos Guimarães: a portable interfere device) for the general public.
The first newsletter (summary of QuMat activities and research highlights) will be issued in the fall of 2023 after the yearly meeting.
Two QuMat PI’s (Grubisic-Cabo & Isaeva) organised a successful focus session at the Veldhoven meeting in Spring 2023. This flew the QuMat flag and contributed to popularization and dissemination of the field of topological quantum materials in the Dutch scene. The session has attracted national (Aguilera, Akhmerov, Khatetoorians) and international (Avraham) speakers.

QuMat Seminars

As part of the teaching activities of QuMat, a seminar series has been started in Utrecht. The series builds upon an existing seminar series focused on theoretical condensed matter physics, run by the Institute for theoretical physics in Utrecht. With funds from QuMat, the seminar encompasses experiments as well as theory.

The seminar is a bi-weekly event that is streamed on Microsoft Teams for anyone who wants to join remotely. 
Many of the talks are also recorded and published on the QuMat website as well as on the QuMat YouTube channel.

Follow this link for the seminars in 2022-2023.

QuMat Events 2022-2023

QuMat Kickoff

QuMat had its kick-off on October 26 at Hotel Mitland in Utrecht. It was an inspirational day where all the project staff, their PhD students, and postdocs could meet for the first time. The day featured presentations from the four pillars and the methods and techniques group. As an extra spice, Maia Vergniory from the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden gave an inspirational talk showcasing the Topological Materials Database.

PhD student Site Visit

We are happy to that so many students took part in the QuMat site visit to Utrecht on February 24th 2023.
The event was for PhD students and postdocs of the QuMat, as well as PhD-students/postdocs affiliated with QuMat.
The lab tours: In the afternoon we visited the laboratories. The 30 participants were split into 3 groups that took turns to visit the Scanning Tunneling Microscopes (STM, Bloomberg Building), Electron Microscopes (EM, David de Wit Building) and Density Functional Theory (DFT, Bloomberg Building).

Pillar Meeting 2023 - Groningen

The QuMat 2023 Pillar Meeting was held May 11 and 12 at the Best Western Plus Hotel Groningen
Plaza in Groningen. The two days of the meeting featured presentations by QuMat scientists of all levels.
The pillar heads, in consultation with the program committee, invited participants to give lectures during the meeting. Other QuMat doctoral students and postdocs presented posters of their work during the meeting. Affiliated doctoral students were also welcome to contribute. Poster price and speakers price: We introduced a poster price during the Pillar meeting.

The first winner was Thijs Roskamp.

We also tried out to give a prize for best PhD talk. The first winner was Lumen Eek.

Yearly Meeting 2023 - Nijmegen

The first QuMat yearly meeting took place in Nijmegen at the Lindenberg Cultuurhuis (23 – 25 October).
The Yearly meeting was a three-day meeting where all QuMat scientist, and associated members as well as the two advisory boards (SAC / ISOAC) come together to share scientific results, discuss challenges and opportunities within the consortium and find new cross-pillar collaborations. There were more than 100 participants at the meeting.
There were also tours of the laboratory facilities at Radboud. The site visits were: High Field Magnet Laboratory (HFML), Free-Electron Laser (FELIX), Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM), Ultrafast Spectroscopy (USCM).
For this meeting we only gave prices for the pest poster, sponsored by the IOP journal Materials for Quantum Technology. The winner was Caroline Bauer. 


Summer school

The QuMat summer school will take place on 24 – 28 June 2024 at Hotel Amelander Kaap in Hollum, Friesland.

Our school aims to provide students working on Materials for the Quantum Age with a common language that allows experimentalists and theorists to discuss, e.g., topology, materials science, and spintronics across the specializations of their discipline.

Recruitment of Tenure trackers

The QuMat proposal contains three tenure trackers for the first 5 years (UU, RU, TuE). Machteld Kamminga (UU) started in Utrecht in February 2023.

The other two have not yet been occupied.

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