Research in VCDM is broadly organized in three thematic areas:
1. The prediction and creation of new 3D DMs.
VCDM will set out to systematically find and design new materials using theoretical tools. The approach will be using data mining techniques to search for new materials with specific properties. This will be done for different kinds of DMs along with expanding the tools for a systematic search. Particularly, search for new organic DMs will rely on the Organic Materials Database (OMDB), which is an electronic structure database for various organic and organometallic materials, freely accessible via a web interface at http://omdb.diracmaterials.org/. The OMDB web interface allows users to search for materials with specified target properties using non-trivial queries about their electronic structure, including advanced tools for pattern recognition, chemical and physical properties search. A unique feature of CDM is the close integration of the theoretical search for new Dirac materials with the experimental possibility to realize them. CDM already has leading expertise for the growth of three-dimensional materials. The synthesis activities will be able to rapidly act on theoretical suggestions from the project part mentioned above, and they will also stand on their own, as many proposed Dirac materials have not been synthesized successfully yet. The synthesis will be accompanied by powerful characterization tools, such as x-ray diffraction, transport measurements and angle-resolved photoemission using the synchrotron radiation source ASTRID2. The results of these measurements will feed-back into both synthesis and theoretical development, as indicated in the figure.
2. The search for a 2D TI (a so-called quantum spin Hall system) with a large band gap.
In addition to exploring traditional three-dimensional materials, we will also investigate Dirac materials in two dimensions which can then be synthesized on surfaces. Using the same combination of theory-guided search and experimental realization, we will particularly focus on materials showing the so-called quantum spin Hall effect, essentially two-dimensional topological insulators, with a large band gap, permitting the use in room temperature devices.
3. The creation of unusual and artificial DMs.
The concept of DMs, initially developed to account for the unusual electronic properties of graphene, can be used to explain many other physical situations, not only in materials such as TIs, but also for further removed situations such as d-wave superconductivity and superfluid phases of 3He. In fact, this universality of numerous properties was the key-motivation for coining the classification of DMs in the first place. The third thematic area of VCDM seeks to expand the DM concept to other materials classes, for example by exploring the possibility of bosonic Dirac materials.