Canfield awarded $1.7 million Moore Materials Synthesis Investigators award

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Paul Canfield (Ames Laboratory photo)

Iowa State University physicist Paul Canfield, who develops new materials with novel properties, has received a five-year, $1.7 million Moore Materials Synthesis Investigators award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation of Palo Alto, Calif.

Canfield and his research team will use the funds to further their work in the discovery of new electronic and magnetic compounds – often in single-crystal form – and the study of their electrical, magnetic and thermal properties. These scientific discoveries can lead to new technologies or products that improve the lives of people around the world.

Canfield is a Distinguished Professor and the Robert Allen Wright Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa State and is a Senior Physicist at the Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory.

“We will be looking for compounds with fragile magnetic states that we think we can tune, or adjust, so as to create new states that emerge when the fragile states are suppressed,” Canfield said. “To some extent we want to see the phoenix rise from the ashes.”

For three decades Canfield has helped design, discover and understand materials with ferromagnetic and superconducting states in addition to exotic systems with fragile magnetism that can be manipulated to shed light on basic questions of magnetic behavior.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded grants to 12 materials synthesis scientists at eight institutions in the Moore Materials Synthesis Investigators program. The program is part of the foundation’s Emerging Phenomena in Quantum Systems initiative. The awards will enable investigators to conduct discovery-driven research, such as investigative synthesis of new types of quantum materials, according to the Moore Foundation.

Quantum materials are substances in which the collective behavior of electrons leads to many complex and unexpected phenomena. Examples of these phenomena include superconductivity, new forms of magnetism and the occurrence of emergent particles with properties unlike those of fundamental particles.

Canfield has won national awards for his work. Earlier this year, the American Physical Society presented him with the David Adler Lectureship Award in the Field of Materials Physics. In 2011 Canfield received a Department of Energy Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award, which recognizes contributions in research and development supporting the DOE. He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2001. Canfield also has won several teaching and research awards at Iowa State.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa State is an academic unit in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory operated by ISU. -30-

About Liberal Arts and Sciences The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is a world-class learning and research community. Iowa State’s most academically diverse college, LAS educates students to become global citizens, providing rigorous academic programs in the sciences, humanities and social sciences within a supportive personalized learning environment. College faculty design new materials, unravel biological structures, care for the environment, and explore social and behavioral issues. From fundamental research to technology transfer and artistic expression, the college supports people in Iowa and around the world.

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Contacts: Paul Canfield, Physics, (515) 294-6270, Breehan Gerleman Lucchesi, Ames Laboratory, (515) 294-9750, Steve Jones, Liberal Arts and Sciences Communications, (515) 294-0461,