The Center

The Center

The Max Planck-UBC-UTokyo Center for Quantum Materials is a collaborative venture between the Max Planck Society (Germany), University of British Columbia (Canada), and the University of Tokyo (Japan) featuring internationally recognized leading scientists and extensive infrastructure for research in quantum materials. This partnership supports collaborative projects, scholarly exchanges, annual workshops, and joint schools for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. The Center provides a platform for interdisciplinary exchange and cooperation and is led by three co-directors:

         Prof. Bernhard Keimer (MPI for Solid State Research, Stuttgart)

         Prof. Andrea Damascelli (University of British Columbia, Vancouver)

         Prof. Ryo Shimano (University of Tokyo, Japan)


The projects

For a list of the current projects, please click here.

Your profile

Successful applicants will be outstanding and highly motivated scientists with a strong background in physics or chemistry. Strong publications on quantum materials and enthusiasm for collaborative research are expected.

Postdoc Application

Applications are currently closed !

The postdoc application must contain a curriculum vitae, a publication list, and a research statement. In addition, candidates should arrange for two reference letters to be sent directly to the same address.

The Max Planck-UBC-UTokyo Center for Quantum Materials is committed to employing more disabled individuals and especially encourages them to apply. The Center seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented, and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.


President Steinmeier visits UBC

President Steinmeier visits UBC

On April 25th, 2023 the University of British Columbia hosted president Frank-Walter Steinmeier as part of his first official visit to Canada.
President Steinmeier toured UBC and met amongst others engineers collaborating with German research institutions.
“What we saw here during our visit to British Columbia is the close cooperation between science institutions at UBC and in Germany and Canada, and this is encouraging for the future,” said President Steinmeier.
“Germany and Canada are working together to make the world a better place and that means changing our daily behaviour and developing innovative technology.”
The 70-member delegation included the Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, First Lady Elke Büdenbender, German Ambassador to Canada Ms. Sabine Sparwasser, and representatives from parliament, business, science and culture.
They were welcomed by members of the UBC community led by Dr. Walter Mérida, applied science associate dean, research and industrial partnerships.
Dr. Mérida noted that UBC is one of the few Canadian academic institutions with research partnerships with mayor German research institutions and thus also with the Max Planck Society.
President Steinmeier and delegation members also spoke with researchers working on challenges relating to quantum materials. One of the highlighted projects included researchers at the Max Planck-UBC-UTokyo Centre for Quantum Materials, led at UBC by Dr. Andrea Damascelli, who are developing new engineering applications for quantum materials.
Canada welcomes several thousand German students every year and the German visit highlights how these students can tap into opportunities to engage in top-tier research, particularly at UBC.
Says Rafael Haenel, a joint PhD student at UBC, the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research and the University of Stuttgart, “My program gives me the chance to experience a second academic environment. I get to meet interesting people and participate in cutting-edge research and collaboration between two institutes, two cultures.”

German Federal Minister for Education and Research Anja Karliczek at the Max Planck Center in Vancouver

German Federal Minister for Education and Research Anja Karliczek at the Max Planck Center in Vancouver

“The work carried out at the Max Planck-UBC Center for Quantum Materials”, says Anja Karliczek, “makes an important contribution to quantum physics research as well as to international exchanges between scientists”. During her visit to Canada, where, among other things, she met with her Canadian counterpart to launch a transnational programme of collaboration between science and industry, the German Federal Minister for Education and Research also paid a visit to the Max Planck Center in Vancouver. Bernhard Keimer, a Director at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research and one of the co-directors of the Center, and Andrea Damascelli, a Professor at the University of British Columbia and another of the Center's co-directors, provided Karliczek with an overview of the results of the successful collaboration before going on to give her a tour of the Max Planck Center laboratories at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Findings, which could lead to practicable superconductors Among other things, scientists at the Max Planck-UBC-U Tokyo Center for Quantum Materials are carrying out research into high-temperature superconductors, i.e., materials, which conduct electricity without loss at relatively high temperatures, but still well below freezing point. The researchers’ objective is to further develop these materials to the point where they lose their electrical resistance at practicable temperatures. In the course of their research, the scientists have already discovered, among other things, why some of the superconductors that are most promising for practical purposes lose this property above minus 135 degrees Celsius at most. Beyond that temperature, charge density waves destroy the arrangement of electrons required for superconductivity. In addition, the researchers have recently gained insights into symmetries between the electrons’ two organisational states. “As such”, says Bernhard Keimer, “we have achieved another step towards a better understanding of the interplay between competing electronic effects within the materials, and, therefore the prerequisite for practicable high-temperature superconductors”. In addition, physicists at the Center have developed methods based on X-ray spectroscopy with which they can determine the chemical composition and electronic structure of the interfaces of complex materials with a high degree of precision and in a non-destructive manner. As Andrea Damascelli explains: “this kind of data can help us to optimise electronic switching elements, whose functionality is based on complex quantum phenomena, such as superconductivity or magnetism”. Researchers at the Center have also modified X-ray processes such that they are able to determine the magnetic structure and dynamics of atomically thin layers. The findings made in this context enable them to manipulate the magnetic structures in a targeted manner. The fact that they can develop and control complex magnetic structures in this way will pave the way to novel spintronic components, which will exploit spin, a quantum property of electrons, for the transmission of electricity. In principle, spin-based charge transmission involves significantly less friction and resistance than charge transmission in traditional components and, therefore, opens up new possibilities in microelectronics. Palpably more interest among young talent from North America and Japan “That's consistent with the issues we're tackling in Germany”, says Karliczek: “The federal government of Germany will be systematically driving the development of quantum technologies with an independent programme, which is why I introduced the “Quantum Technologies from Fundamental Principles to Market” framework programme in the cabinet. During the current legislative period, the federal government of Germany will be making a total of around 650 million euro available for research and development in quantum technologies”. In his presentation, Bernhard Keimer also addressed the importance of the Max Planck-UBC-U Tokyo Center as well as the other Max Planck Centers at world-leading research facilities for training junior scientists. “Since our Center has been in existence”, he says, “the interest in our International Max Planck Research School among outstandingly talented young scientists from North America and Japan has increased significantly”. The Max Planck Society’s International Max Planck Research Schools are institutions that provide structured training and excellent research conditions for doctoral students. For junior scientists, having carried out research at the Max Planck Center in Vancouver, also pays off in the long run. “Our Center has already produced several professors”, says Keimer.

Joint PhD progam between Stuttgart and Vancouver launched

On October 29th the president of the Max Planck society, Prof. Martin Stratmann, and the president of the University of British Columbia (UBC), Prof. Santa Ono, have signed a letter of intent to establish a joint PhD degree of the UBC and the University of Stuttgart. The degree program is based on collaborative research at the MPI for Solid State Research, the UBC and the University of Stuttgart.

"This agreement combines the excellent education and training opportunities of the International Max Planck Research School for Condensed Matter Science (IMPRS-CMS) and the long-standing research collaborative of the Max Planck-UBC-UTokyo Center for Quantum Materials", states Prof. Bernhard Keimer, co-director of the center. "I am looking forward to attract top students worldwide to be trained in our center."
Co-op Employer Award 2017 of the University of British Columbia (Canada)

Co-op Employer Award 2017 of the University of British Columbia (Canada)

The Co-op Employer Recognition Award 2017 was presented to Dirk Manske of the Max Planck Institutes by the UBC Science Co-op for providing excellent Co-op work experiences.

University of Tokyo joins UBC and Max Planck in quantum collaboration Date: April 25, 2017   The University of Tokyo (UTokyo) has formally joined the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Max Planck Society in advancing quantum materials research. In quantum materials, the collective behaviour of electrons generates a wide range of spectacular physical properties including unconventional magnetism and superconductivity.   The new partnership will create the Max Planck – UBC – UTokyo Centre for Quantum Materials, an expansion of the original Centre, the Max Planck-UBC Centre for Quantum Materials, established in 2010.   UTokyo President Makoto Gonokami, Max Planck Society President Martin Stratmann and UBC President Santa Ono (from left to right) signed an agreement to formalize the growing partnership today at the University of Tokyo. They were joined by the Centre’s three co-chairs: Bernhard Keimer, director of the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research; Andrea Damascelli, scientific director of UBC’s Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute; and Atsushi Fujimori, Professor of Physics at UTokyo.   The partnership commits to joint research collaborations at all three institutions and creating exchange opportunities for scientists and students to work and study at the partner institutions.   UTokyo brings expertise in synthesizing and characterizing  quantum materials to the Centre. Currently 120 research groups at different departments in three UTokyo campuses are working in the field of condensed matter physics. By expanding the partnership, it strengthens existing research collaborations and creates new joint projects in quantum materials research through promoting the exchange of students, researchers, and new ideas.   Since 2010, the Centre has created a new, innovative forum for scientific exchange and collaboration, which has enabled important discoveries in superconductors and other quantum materials. The Centre has given bright young scientists new opportunities to experience the spirit of international collaboration, and to contribute to a rapidly evolving research frontier. We are delighted to welcome UTokyo as a strong institutional partner with many internationally leading research groups in the field of quantum materials.     Quotes from the Max Planck – UBC – UTokyo Centre for Quantum Materials co-chairs:   Bernhard Keimer: “I very much look forward to new research collaborations with friends and colleagues at the University of Tokyo, and to a unique partnership with leading scientists on three continents.”   Andrea Damascelli: “I am thrilled that UBC researchers will be working alongside top scientists from Max Planck and the University Tokyo to create knowledge for a better future.”   Atsushi Fujimori: I am excited to see that UTokyo is now part of the Center for Quantum Materials. I believe it will be the strongest partnership in quantum materials research and encourage new generation in this field.”   


The Max Planck Gesellschaft, the University of British Columbia Center for Quantum Materials and the University of Tokyo provide a forum for interdisciplinary cooperation between physicists, chemists, and materials scientists working in the field of quantum phenomena in complex materials.

The diverse collaborative projects of research groups within the Max-Planck Society of Germany, the University of British Columbia in Canada and the University of Tokyo, Japan include the synthesis and exploration of novel d- and f-electron compounds exhibiting symmetry breaking phenomena such as magnetism, orbital ordering and superconductivity; the investigation of the properties of surfaces and interfaces in correlated materials, ranging from catalytic activity to electronic reconstructions; the refinement and application of advanced spectroscopic methods such as spin-resolved ARPES, resonant x-ray reflectivity and high-resolution RIXS; and the theoretical study of strongly correlated and low-dimensional quantum systems.

A central mission of the Centre is to establish research opportunities at different stages of the scientific career, with flexible appointments between a few months as a visiting scientist and a few years as a postdoctoral fellow or a PhD student. At present, we have an opening for a number of top-tier Max-Planck-UBC-UTokyo fellowships which offer excellent candidates the chance to conduct research in a collaborative project of our international setting. In addition, a number of postdoctoral and PhD student positions are available within individual groups participating in the Centre.

The Center also creates new educational opportunities for students: This includes joint summer and winter schools and undergraduate jobs where students will get to know a different scientific culture and environment at an early stage of their careers.

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