Fellow 2021-22

Lucas Kyle Wagner


Wagner imageExpanding Access to Low Energy Physics Derived from First Principles Quantum Simulations

An important organizing principle in physics is that systems behave differently at different length and time scales. The diversity of these behaviors is due to the change in scale–electrons and nuclei interact with very high energies and small length scales, but we interact with collections of particles at large length scales and lower energy. A major contribution of condensed matter physics has been the accurate description of the collective motion of electrons and nuclei in different circumstances. An example of this is the transistor, applications of which have changed our society. Low-energy descriptions of silicon were critical to this and many other technological developments. Traditionally, low-energy descriptions have been developed using a combination of experiment, intuition, physical principles and guessing. However, in more complex situations, this approach faces challenges, since often not enough information is available.

More complex systems could be tackled, were it possible to derive the low-energy physics directly from quantum mechanics with electrons and nuclei interacting through electromagnetism. Recent developments have made it possible to attain much higher accuracy in the simulation of these systems, even up to 1000 interacting quantum particles. Professor Wagner’s group has made progress in attaining accurate computer simulations of these systems and using these simulations to develop low-energy descriptions of materials. During his CAS appointment, he will focus on the physics of high-temperature superconducting materials and in bridging the gap from a promising method to a new tool for researchers to use. These tools lay the groundwork for new descriptions of complex quantum matter and new technological developments down the line.