Semi-Metal Research Earns Physics Assistant Professor First NSF Career Grant

Physics Assistant Professor Yasuyuki Nakajima, Ph.D, has received his first National Science Foundation CAREER grant for research on semi-metal materials with characteristics of nematic superconductivity.

“We are exploring materials that could potentially revolutionize information technology,” said Nakajima. “I formed the hypothesis that an unusual superconducting state called nematic superconductivity could be a key research ingredient for studying these materials.”

Through his research, Nakajima will synthesize a large number of candidate materials by changing the combination of elements on the periodic table and characterizing their low temperature properties.

“We grow single crystals of topological superconductor candidates, heat them up, dissolve them and cool them down slowly. Using those crystals we then characterize the basic physical properties,” said Nakajima.

The grant will support these research efforts while also allowing Nakajima to extend a hand to the education of a student in STEM.

“Because of this grant we will be able to financially support a graduate student in our lab,” said Nakajima. “It will also cover research and materials cost.”

As a young member of UCF faculty, Nakajima points to this grant as a milestone in his career.

“This is definitely a career milestone for young faculty like me,” said Nakajima. “Exploring new materials provides opportunities to find new physical phenomena and I am very passionate about discovering the physics behind such phenomena.”


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