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Gravitational wave

Mason physicist receives NSF EAGER Award to guide computational search for practical superconducting materials

Igor Mazin, Professor of Practice for Advanced Studies in Theoretical Physics, Quantum Materials Center, Physics and Astronomy, is set to receive funding for the project: "Collaborative research: Ab Initio Engineering of Doped-Covalent-Bond Superconductors." 

This EAGER award will support a joint computational and theoretical effort to guide the search for practical superconducting materials.  

Superconductors carry electrical current without any resistance when cooled down below a certain material-dependent critical temperature. This remarkable property has already found numerous applications, but present-day superconductors are difficult to manufacture or require ultra-low temperatures to function. New superconducting materials that can be mass-produced and operate at easily maintained temperatures have the potential to revolutionize energy, transportation, communication, and other emerging technologies. 

In this project, the team will focus on exploring promising combinations of light abundant elements including boron, carbon, and various metals.  

The researchers will employ advanced modeling methods and computational tools developed in their groups to identify and analyze suitable candidate materials.  

They will search for stable compounds using a combination of an evolutionary algorithm and machine-learning interatomic potentials. They will examine viable compounds using a computational method based on Wannier functions, a state-of-the-art approach for predicting superconducting properties. 

Mazin will receive $200,000 from the National Science Foundation for this project. Funding will begin in Sept. 2023 and will end in late Aug. 2026.