Nicholas Kurti European Science Prize awarded for research on exotic magnetic matter

Phase diagram of spin ladder

Dr Christian Ruegg of the LCN was awarded the 2010 Nicholas Kurti European Science Prize for his pioneering work on quantum phase transitions and novel phases in magnetic materials. With this prestigious prize Oxford Instruments recognizes outstanding research by a young scientist using high magnetic fields and low temperatures.

The prize is named after Prof Nicholas Kurti, a Hungarian-born physicist known for his distinguished work in ultra-low temperature physics at University of Oxford and his contributions to molecular gastronomy.

Christian Ruegg is honoured for his groundbreaking experiments on prototypical magnetic model materials, including low-dimensional arrays of quantum spins, so called spin dimer and ladder systems. Using mainly neutron spectroscopy in combination with high magnetic fields and low temperatures he discovered and explored the fascinating properties of spin Luttinger-liquids and magnon Bose-Einstein condensates, which are novel exotic states of magnetic matter emerging near fundamental quantum phase transitions.

He comments: “Our experimental work on quantum magnets is constantly pushing the boundaries of state-of-the-art instrumentation, synthetic chemistry, and quantum many-body theory. These challenges and the beauty of the underlying physics have fascinated me for quite a while. I am delighted and honoured to be awarded the Kurti prize, which also goes to my team of students and international collaborators.”

Additional information about the research by Dr Christian Ruegg is available on his web page.