The QLUSTER consortium comprises research groups from academia and industry spanning 7 countries of the EU. It is constituted as a collaborative network for promoting and advancing research in fundamentals and applications, for training young scientists with broad sets of skills and high adaptability to the changing and increasingly knowledge-based economy of the EU, and with a strong commitment to communicating science to society.
Despite striking similarities in phenomena, language and even methods employed to study cluster formation and mesophase organization across widely different length scales — from the subatomic to the macromolecular scale — a coherent effort to bring distinct research communities in classical and quantum soft matter together has not been yet undertaken. The scientific objective of QLUSTER is to advance the fundamentals in classical and quantum soft matter beyond the state of the art, creating permanent ties between communities that have evolved separately so far, and fostering the transfer of knowledge essential for a broad range of applications. The ambitious research and training program will address the properties of classical an quantum soft matter systems under a common framework based on the underlying ultrasoft interactions of the constituents.
Ultrasoftness is the key factor leading to the observed complexity in the dynamics, structure, and response to external drives of these different entities (complex polymers, soft colloids, Rydberg atoms in optical lattices, vortex matter in superconductors, nucleons in astromaterials, etc). It is the goal of QLUSTER to drive these efforts to depth, to cross-fertilize between different communities and to train young researchers in an environment that crosses the borders between the quantum and the classical many-body physics. These connections will take place both at the level of phenomena and at the level of methods and approaches, theoretical and experimental alike, to the topic.
QLUSTER comprises a unique theory/experiment balanced team of specialists in quantum optics, polymer physics and macromolecular chemistry among others, and it provides a valuable platform for communication between the different communities of research in ultrasoft matter. The impact of QLUSTER in the academic and private sector of the EU will be broad. There are no previous examples of similar initiatives in the world and QLUSTER will put the EU in a privileged position, through fostering transfer of fundamentals and methodologies between communities, to innovate in large-scale sectors such as e.g., cosmetics, food science or tyre manufacturing, and to find innovative applications of quantum science.