Chakhalian Awarded $1.8 Million to Create Novel Quantum Materials

Jak Chakhalian, University of Arkansas
Photo by Matt Reynolds

Jak Chakhalian, University of Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Jak Chakhalian, a professor of physics at the University of Arkansas, has been selected as an investigator by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which is now developing a $1.8 million grant to support Chakhalian’s research.

The five-year grant will allow Chakhalian to create and investigate novel quantum materials and the relationships at the interface between those materials on the nanoscale. It will fund a state-of-the-art facility to grow artificial quantum materials at the atomic scale, with the ultimate goal of controlling their properties. His findings could represent a breakthrough in the field of exotic magnetism and high temperature superconductivity.

Chakhalian’s project was funded after an intense national competition conducted by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, based in Palo Alto, California. Chakhalian was among those who were invited to enter the competition by the foundation. The Moore Experimental Investigators in Quantum Materials program awarded a total of $34.2 million to 19 scientists at 11 universities across the United States, including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I’m very excited,” Chakhalian said. “This is amazing. It was a strong competition. Most importantly, any award is like an allowance given to a scientist. Money enables the science but it doesn’t do the science, so there is exciting, hard work ahead and a lot of responsibility that comes with this award.”

“This Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation grant confirms what we have known for some time, that Jak Chakhalian is a world-class physicist,” said Sharon Gaber, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “The University of Arkansas aspires to become a national leader in the field of nanoscience, and Dr. Chakhalian’s work will enable us to move closer to that goal.”

Quantum materials are substances in which the collective behavior of electrons leads to many emergent properties, such as high-temperature superconductivity and exotic forms of magnetism. New discoveries in this field could eventually lead to revolutionary applications in electronics, computing, catalysis and energy technology.

The Moore Experimental Investigator in Quantum Materials Awards are part of a $90 million EPiQS Initiative, short for Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems. It is one of the largest privately-funded initiatives in this field and provides support for highly talented scientists in three areas: experiment, materials synthesis and theory.  

Chakhalian holds the Charles E. and Clydene Scharlau Endowed Professorship in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and directs the Laboratory for Artificial Quantum Materials at the University of Arkansas.

He joined the physics faculty in 2006 after a three-year fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Germany. He holds a doctorate in solid state physics from the University of British Columbia.


University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in a wide spectrum of disciplines; contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research and creative activity; and provides service to academic and professional disciplines and to society in general, all aimed at fulfilling its public land-grant mission to serve Arkansas and beyond as a partner, resource and catalyst. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research.


Jak Chakhalian, professor, physics
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

Chris Branam, research communications writer/editor
University Relations

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