ERC Starting Grant for Uri Vool
Uri Vool was awarded a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). He is an independent group leader at the MPI CPfS, and will use the grant to explore novel superconductors by integrating them into hybrid quantum circuits.
Superconductors are remarkable materials which have been crucial to our understanding of solid-state physics, and led to technological advancements in various fields. However, despite decades of research, the underlying superconducting state and the origin of superconductivity in many materials is still unknown. The key challenge lies in gaining access to the superfluid state using low energy excitations below the superconducting gap, and obtaining high sensitivity even when only tiny samples are available.
One of the important advances of superconducting technology in recent years has been the field of superconducting quantum circuits, where macroscopic electric circuits can mimic the quantum properties of atomic systems. The circuits have flexible design and show strong interaction while maintaining high coherence, making them a leading quantum computing platform. These advantages also make them excellent quantum sensors, and as they are entirely superconductor-based and operate at microwave frequencies well below the gap energy of most materials, superconducting circuits are ideally suited for the exploration of novel superconductors.
For his ERC grant, Uri and his group will fabricate hybrid superconducting circuits in which novel superconductors participate significantly. These circuits connect internal material properties to the state of the quantum system, so that sensitive measurement techniques developed for quantum computing can be used for material exploration. Such measurements can spectroscopically study the gap structure of atomically thin and micrometer sized materials, and interact with collective excitations in the superconductor. Unraveling the structure of the superconducting phase in these materials is important for our basic understanding of interacting many-body quantum systems, and can lead to the next generation of quantum technology devices.
Uri explored artificial atoms in superconducting circuits at Yale University, where he obtained his PhD in Physics. As a John Harvard Distinguished Science fellow at Harvard University, Uri developed quantum sensing techniques for understanding material properties. As of March 2022, Uri leads the "Quantum Information for Quantum Materials" group at the MPI CPfS. In November 2022, Uri became a Young Investigator at the TU Dresden.
ERC starting grants support promising researchers at the beginning of their independent career. The researchers receive approximately 1.5 million Euros to support their group for 5 years. In the 2022 call 408 starting grants were awarded across all disciplines, with 15 grants awarded to Max Planck Society researchers. The grants are part of the EU’s Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020.