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ERC Consolidator Grant for Søren Ulstrup

Søren Ulstrup receives 2 million euro for the project EXCITE via a prestigious Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council.

Søren Ulstrup
Søren Ulstrup

Phase transitions in materials are typically governed by thermodynamic principles. For example, if the temperature of mercury is lowered from room temperature to around -269 °C, the material will transition from being a metal to becoming a superconductor. The emergence of quantum materials opens up a range of promising new methods to control such phase transitions "on-demand."

The ERC Consolidator project EXCITE, which has the full title "Exposing Hidden Electronic Configurations in Atomically Thin Superstructures with Extreme Light," will have a duration of 5 years. In the project, Søren will investigate an ambitious hypothesis, which suggests that extreme forms of light can be utilized to program new electronic phases in atomically-thin quantum materials. Søren will employ a unique combination of light in the form of synchrotron radiation from ASTRID2 and ultrafast laser pulses in order to trigger and investigate electronic phases that have not beenexperimentally accessible.

The project will make it possible to establish groundbreaking infrastructure for studies of quantum materials at ASTRID2. The project could potentially pave the way for optical methods to control the electronic properties of materials, which could be used to realize ultrafast memory devices.

ERC Consolidator Grants are awarded to promising young researchers between 7-12 years after obtaining their Ph.D., who are consolidating their own independent research group. The evaluation process is divided into two stages, where a panel of experts in the relevant research field ranks applicants based on a detailed project description and an interview. Projects are selected based on the sole criterion of excellence, meaning that the applicant must demonstrate a track record of excellent research, expertise, and creativity. The applicant must demonstrate that the project is ambitious andgroundbreaking, while maintaining a balance between risk/gain and the feasibility of the project.