Suchitra Sebastian

Suchitra Sebastian

University Lecturer and Royal Society University Research Fellow in Physics

Suchitra Sebastian is a University Lecturer and Royal Society University Research Fellow in Physics at the University of Cambridge. She is an experimental condensed matter physicist specialised in researching what might be the next generation of superconductors – new classes of materials which superconduct at accessible temperatures and could be used in future applications such as lossless electrical grids, next-generation supercomputers and levitating trains. Listed among „the next big names in physics“ by the Financial Times, Dr. Sebastian is a L’Oréal UNESCO Women in Science Fellow and has been awarded a 5-year Starting Grant by the European Research Council. Practical superconductors are often characterised as the „holy grail“ of applied physics, and Dr. Sebastian’s work represents an important contribution to this quest.

BREAKING THE WALL OF ENERGY LOSS. How Quantum Materials Hold The Key To A New Generation of Superconductors

Current technologies from silicon chips to computer memory to mobile phone displays are all derived from the fundamental quantum properties of materials. Creating novel materials and manipulating their electronic arrangements is the key to harnessing quantum properties at a macro-level for revolutionary technological advances. Suchitra Sebastian, an experimental condensed matter physicist, L’Oréal UNESCO Women in Science Fellow, and winner of a five-year Starting Grant from the European Research Council, is particularly interested in an extraordinary physical phenomenon known as superconductivity. Superconducting materials transport electricity with zero loss and currently find uses ranging from magnets in MRI machines to particle accelerators in CERN. Suchitra Sebastian is working towards finding novel superconductors that operate at accessible temperature, dramatically increasing their technological applicability. These findings set us firmly on target to discover novel superconductors by design rather than by serendipity – which would open doors to access the enormous potential of these materials and unlock a wide variety of technologies: from lossless electrical transmission to smart electricity grid solutions, from magnetic levitating trains to supercomputers, and from high-efficiency wind-turbines to energy storage systems. At Falling Walls, Sebastian speaks about these new findings and the ongoing quest for what has often been termed “the Holy Grail” of materials physics.