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Pablo Jarillo-Herrero honoured with Buckley Prize

A fellow in the CIFAR Quantum Materials program, Jarillo-Herrero receives the award from the American Physical Society “for the discovery of superconductivity in twisted bilayer graphene.”

Jarillo-Herrero joined the CIFAR Quantum Materials program in 2019 and contributes extensive knowledge and expertise in quantum electronic transport. He is best known for his work on “magic angles” in graphene and other thin materials like chromium trichloride, which can turn them from insulators to superconductors. This led to dozens of labs around the world replicating and extending the concept, which may hold the secret to room-temperature superconductivity.

By twisting two layers of atom-thick graphene by 1.1 degrees with respect to each other and cooling the ensemble, Jarillo-Herrero’s lab was able to turn an insulator into a superconductor.

“Being awarded the Oliver E. Buckley prize is an incredible honor,” says Jarillo-Herrero. “I feel truly humbled, both by the recognition and the early stage at which it has come. This has been of course only possible thanks to the great team of students and postdocs in my lab and the strong support MIT provides. I feel very fortunate and I’m deeply thankful for this. In addition, having been myself a first generation college student, I also hope this prize will help encourage young people to pursue careers in physics and quantum materials research.”

“The APS Buckley Prize is considered by many to be the top prize in condensed-matter physics,” says Louis Taillefer, co-director of the CIFAR Quantum Materials program. “His ground-breaking 2018 discovery of superconductivity in twisted bilayer graphene has opened up a whole new interface between the world of graphene and that of strongly interacting electrons, a new and interdisciplinary frontier in quantum materials. The new platform for studying and tuning the behaviour of electrons in matter will impact all aspects of our new CIFAR Quantum Materials Program — from superconductivity, to spin liquids, to topological materials.”

The Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize, named in honour of a former president of Bell Labs, is given annually by the American Physical Society to a researcher whose work has significantly impacted the field of condensed matter physics, and is accompanied by a cash prize of $20,000. The prize is highly regarded in the physics community, and, according to the American Physical Society, represents “critical recognition from the recipients’ most discerning audience, their peers.”

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