Center for the Advancement of Topological Semimetals funding renewed for next four years

CATS logo Ames National Laboratory

The Center for the Advancement of Topological Semimetals (CATS), an Energy Frontier Research Center under the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, has been awarded continuing funding of $12.6 million. The funding was recently announced by the DOE’s Office of Science, and advances the work of the center for another four years.

CATS’ fundamental research mission is to discover, understand, and manipulate the properties of topological materials, a category of quantum materials that have evolved in the last two decades from theoretical concepts into reality. In particular, CATS focuses on topological materials where magnetism plays an essential role.  These complex materials hold promise for applications in information technology, sensing, detection, and spintronics.

CATS was initially established under Ames National Laboratory’s leadership in 2018.  The current multi-institutional CATS partnership includes Argonne National Laboratory, Harvard University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California-Santa Barbara, the University of Illinois – Chicago, and the University of Waterloo, Canada.

Rob McQueeney, CATS Director, Ames Laboratory scientist, and John and Mary Weaver Professor of Physics at Iowa State University, said that over the past four years, the multi-institutional team had forged much new ground in this frontier area of science, with a number of papers published in high-impact journals that illuminate the underlying fundamental mechanisms that give rise to the unique properties of topological materials, and demonstrate ways to control and manipulate their quantum properties.

“CATS has made progress towards achieving several of our long-term goals, McQueeney said. “This includes the discovery new magnetic topological materials with exquisite tunability, world-leading synthesis of epitaxial thin films that are key for future technological deployment of topological matter, and discoveries of unique phenomena in magnetic topological materials consisting of only a few atomic layers.

“We have also made serendipitous and unexpected discoveries pointing to new roles for complex magnetic order, ferroelectricity, electron-electron interactions, and light-matter interactions to control and manipulate topological properties of matter. These new discoveries play a major role in our shaping our future goals.”

Ames National Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science National Laboratory operated by Iowa State University. Ames National Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies, and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities, and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global problems.

Ames Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit