Magnetism is inherently quantum mechanical. The Bohr–Van Leeuwen theorem states that there can be no net magnetization within a classical framework, and the strength of magnetic interactions relies on the antisymmetric exchange of fermions. As our understanding of magnetism has evolved, a whole menagerie of magnetic phases have steadily revealed themselves. From macroscopically observable ferromagnetism, to the less tangible (but more often physically realized) antiferromagnetism, and now to quantum magnets which show no order down to the lowest measurable temperatures, driven by geometric frustration, low dimensionality, or in some cases quantum fluctuations.
In our group, we grow and characterize all manner of quantum magnets, often with one eye on potential applications to future information technology. For example, antiferromagnetic materials – with their negligible external field and fast switching times - are anticipated to be the future of information storage, whilst quantum spin liquids – an exotic phase of matter wherein the spin and charge degrees of freedom are decoupled – might hold the key to next generation information processing.