Ajit Srivastava receives ERC Consolidator Grant for 2D materials research at the MPSD
Condensed matter physicist Ajit Srivastava, an Associate Professor at Emory University in the United States, has been awarded a prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant to carry out research at the MPSD for the next five years. With his TuneInt2Quantum project, he aims to realize a versatile 2D materials platform which will reveal design principles for exotic quantum phases while permitting the discovery of novel quantum matter and light.
Srivastava investigates how materials which are just an atom thick interact with light. With the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant he wants to exploit the interplay between strong interactions and the underlying geometry and topology of electronic states to hunt for elusive topological correlated phases such as fractional quantum Hall states of excitons.
Consolidator Grants are awarded to researchers with a scientific track record showing great promise, who intend to establish or strengthen a research team in Europe. The PI chooses a host institution where he or she independently directs the research. Srivastava plans to take up his work at the MPSD by the end of 2022.
The MPSD’s research strengths in his chosen field were key reasons for choosing it as the host institution, he says: “The MPSD is a dynamic place with cutting-edge facilities to realize my research goals. More importantly, it hosts world-renowned experts and rising stars in the field and is an ideal place to attract talented researchers from all over the world. I look forward to strengthening existing collaborations and forging new ones.
“Being awarded the ERC Consolidator Grant obviously means a lot to me in terms of the scientific recognition it brings but it is especially important for me as it gives me a chance to relocate to Europe for personal reasons.”
The MPSD’s Managing Director, Andrea Cavalleri, welcomes the news that Srivastava will establish his group at the Institute: “We are delighted to have been able to attract Ajit to the MPSD from a tenured professorship in the United States. This is a great addition to our research portfolio and a prime example of how ERC grants are helping us to enrich research capital throughout Europe.”
Ajit Srivastava studied Materials Science at the Indian Institute of Technology and gained his Masters and PhD in Applied Physics at Rice University in the USA. Since then, he has researched and taught at ETH Zurich (Switzerland) and Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. In 2016, he became Assistant Professor at Emory University in Atlanta (U.S.A.) where he leads the Quantum Light-Matter Lab. His team studies low-dimensional materials, using nanoscale fabrication, magneto- and optical spectroscopy, photon correlations, and electrical transport.
Since 2017, Srivastava has received three grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation for the projects ‘MRI: Acquisition of Ultrafast Transient Absorption Spectrometer’, ‘EFRI NewLAW: Non-reciprocal, topologically protected propagation using atomically thin materials for nanoscale devices’ and ‘Quantum straintronics with single photon emitters in van der Waals materials’.
The highly competitive ERC Consolidator Grant funds selected projects with up to €2 million for a period of five years. This year, 12% of applicants were successful. With a total of €632 million, the 2022 Consolidator Grants will fund wide-ranging, ambitious research in the Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering, and Social Sciences and Humanities. The Council estimates that roughly 1,900 jobs will be created for postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and other staff as a result.