LCN researcher Professor Des McMorrow, also Vice-Dean for Research within UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences, has been awarded a prestigious EPSRC Established Career Fellowship.
Professor McMorrow's research is focused on understanding how electrons organise themselves in solids to produce the diverse range of phenomena encountered in modern condensed matter physics.
These EPSRC fellowships are designed to help develop future leaders with the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills necessary for the UK to compete on a global stage, generating the knowledge, new ideas and technologies essential to support business, government, and national priorities. The award runs for five years from 1 June 2016 and will enable Professor McMorrow to develop the novel X-ray methods for studying the fundamental properties of the next generation of quantum materials subject to strong relativistic effects set out in his proposal.
The major theme of the proposal is the development of novel X-ray techniques which will offer unprecedented insights into the atomic scale order and excitations in solids. The techniques will be developed at large-scale central facilities, both nationally and internationally, which have dedicated particle accelerators for producing ultra intense X-ray beams. The recent advent of X-ray laser sources represents the pinnacle of this technology which deliver 20 orders of magnitude higher intensity than conventional sources in femto-second pulses (i.e. the time taken for light to transit a molecule). These sources are transformational, enabling novel non-equilibrium electronic and magnetic states to be created and their evolution to be studied in real time.
The scientific results of the Fellowship will have an impact on the broad academic communities working on the electronic and magnetic properties of functional materials. These techniques developed will also bring unprecedented insights into the electronic and magnetic correlations that endow functional materials with their properties, and have considerable impact on the capabilities of the central facilities themselves, including allowing the UK to obtain better returns on the large investments it makes in X-ray sources.
Professor McMorrow commented “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to be awarded this Fellowship. It provides me with stable funding for five years and will allow me to pursue some challenging research goals that without it would otherwise be difficult. This is a very exciting time for X-ray physics with X-ray lasers promising to transform our ability to understand the atomic scale structure of materials. I very much look forward to playing my part in this endeavour.”