Posted on 01/07/2015
The Department is delighted to announce that Professor John Saunders has been awarded the prestigious Mott medal "for ground-breaking studies at the frontiers of ultra-low temperature physics". The prize is awarded by the Institute of Physics for distinguished research in Condensed Matter or Materials Physics.
John Saunders is a pioneer in the study of helium films at ultra-low temperatures as model systems for strongly-correlated quantum matter and topological superconductivity. This has been coupled to key developments in technology: cooling techniques; noise thermometry; and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) using superconducting quantum interference devices.
His work is characterised by ground-breaking studies at the frontiers of ultra-low temperature physics, requiring significant technical innovation, and the investigation of model systems providing unique insights into problems of central importance and significance in condensed matter physics. Saunders has also pushed the envelope of low-temperature physics technology. His group has designed new methods for the measurement of temperature down to sub-millikelvin scales, for the cooling of nanostructures, and has developed ultra-low temperature NMR spectrometers of spectacular sensitivity.
Prof. Saunders said: “I am extremely honoured by the award of the Institute of Physics Mott medal and prize. We started low temperature physics research at Royal Holloway way back in 1986, and it has grown from strength to strength. This award recognizes the achievements of the group over the years, and owes everything to my fantastic colleagues and graduate students at Royal Holloway and to our international collaborators who have both made this possible, and made exploring this challenging research area so much fun. We are now the London Low Temperature Laboratory, part of the European Microkelvin Platform. The prospect of developing new techniques and making new discoveries means that we should have exciting times ahead.”
In a separate development, the high impact of the research of the Low Temperature Laboratory led by Prof. Saunders has been recognised in the upcoming IoP report “Inspirational Physics for a modern economy”. “The London Low Temperature Laboratory: impact on ultra-low temperature thermometry and cryogenic platforms” – one of the impact cases submitted by the Department of Physics to the REF2014 exercise – was selected for inclusion in the report. The report showcases examples of where the UK’s world-leading research, begun in individual laboratories, is now transforming the wider world and returning significant value to the economy. The report will be launched at a ceremony next week in the House of Commons.