Spin-orbit Coupling, Correlations, and Topology
Our PhDs about their research on YouTube

Simon Wegener

News & Events


Retreat 2022

One-day retreat of CRC 1238
on Friday, September 23 2022,
9:30-21:00, at the Universitätsclub Bonn.

master-, PhD students, postdocs and PIs working in the context of our research program.

please register here


Max Delbrück award for junior researchers

We congratulate Dr. Ciarán Hickey on receiving this year’s Max Delbrück award for junior researchers. The prize, one of five „future awards“ of the University of Cologne, commends Ciarán for „the discovery of novel spin liquids in field-driven quantum matter“. It recognizes his work on identifying a Higgs transition in the paradigmatic Kitaev model and providing theoretical guidance in the experimental observation of a planar half-quantized thermal Hall effect in the Kitaev material RuCl3.


Statistical Physics Seminar
July 18, 16:00
Seminar Room 0.03, ETP
Srikanth Sastry, JNCASR, Bangalore

Yielding and fatigue failure in amorphous solids

Contact Person: Joachim Krug

SFB 1238
September 14, 16:00
room 0.03
Norio Kumada/ NTT Basic Research Labs Japan


Contact Person: Erwann Boquillon

SFB 1238
October 19, 16:00
room 0.03
Prof. Gang Cao / University of Colorado at Boulder


Contact Person: Prof. Dr. D. Khomskii

Simon Wegener



Control and Dynamics of Quantum Materials

Spin orbit coupling, correlations, and topology

Advances in materials science are one of the strongest drivers of technological innovations and thereby shape our daily life, though often in an unseen way. Powerful examples from recent years include the advent of novel memory technologies building on magnetoresistance read/write heads, ferroelectric, and phase-change memories. The discovery of fascinating materials like graphene has led to a worldwide surge of research initiatives for innovative applications of these and other novel two dimensional materials. Spin-orbit coupled materials such as the recently discovered topological insulators from a new class of solids that have a strong potential for novel functionalities.

Material-based technological innovations are more often than not initiated on the basic-science level through discoveries of new concepts, phenomena, and principles governing the physical properties of quantum materials. Research on quantum materials is a rapidly developing and internationally highly competitive interdisciplinary field. At the forefront of this field, new materials are being investigated in which relativistic spin-orbit effects and non-trivial topologies are at center stage. At the same time, materials with strong electronic correlations exhibit a wealth of non-trivial quantum ordering phenomena including superconductivity, magnetism, and other exotic orders. Precisely at the intersection of these research fields, our collaborative research center aims at exploring, understanding, developing, and utilizing quantum materials to gain deliberate control of the physical properties of these materials and to understand their dynamics, explore driven states of matter, and enable new functionalities.

Our diverse team of principle investigators includes scientists from experimental and theoretical physics as well as crystallography, building and expanding on the excellent research infrastructure in Cologne embedded in the Excellence Initiative key profile area ‚quantum matter and materials‚. The Cologne team is augmented by excellent scientists with indispensable expertise from the University of Bonn and the Forschungszentrum Jülich. Guiding philosophies of our program are the ‘materials – physical properties – theory‘ cycle, which is one of the cornerstones of the success of condensed-matter physics at the University of Cologne, and a multifaceted approach arising from addressing scientific topics from a variety of different perspectives as defined in the focus areas of the program.

The CRC will consolidate and expand Cologne together with the associated groups from Bonn and Jülich as a leading international center within quantum condensed-matter physics. Our vision is to discover, understand, and control novel collective phenomena in quantum materials arising from the interplay of spin-orbit coupling, correlations, and topology.