April 20, 2020

For Northwestern physicist Jim Sauls, the little things really matter in his quest to understand the strange nature of matter that’s normally hidden in everyday life. How strange? Imagine a cup of coffee where the java flows right through the bottom of the cup, while also crawling up the inside of the container.

Sauls’ investigations into the fundamental properties of matter and radiation are discovering exotic new phenomena that illuminate the differences between “classical” and “quantum” liquids and solids, research that may contribute to new superconductors and superfluids — frictionless fluids with very high heat conductivity. Their applications could be wide ranging: for instance, particle accelerators for probing nature’s fundamental forces, the development of better superconducting magnets for medical imaging, and superconducting devices for future quantum computers.

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