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Department of Physics

Assistant Professor Ilija Zeljkovic has received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation


Boston College Assistant Professor of Physics Ilija Zeljkovic, whose research explores emergent phenomena in novel quantum materials, has received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, the agency’s most prestigious grant for early-career faculty who best exemplify the role of teacher-scholar.

The five-year, $650,000 grant will support Prof. Zeljkovic’s project “Nanoscale Synthesis and Imaging of Novel Topological Phases.” This project combines two advanced atomic-scale techniques to create and characterize new topological materials: molecular beam epitaxy to create the materials a single atomic layer at a time, and scanning tunneling microscopy to visualize their atomic and electronic structure. The project aims to provide a fundamental advancement in the understanding of topological materials, as well as to craft new materials for their eventual use in technology, such as in spintronics and quantum computing.  The education goals of this project utilize Prof. Zeljkovic's expertise in materials growth and microscopy imaging, and are targeted to impact a wide range of students, including middle school, high school, undergraduate and graduate students.

“I am extremely grateful to the National Science Foundation and the agency’s support of my lab’s work,” said Prof. Zeljkovic, who joined the physics faculty at BC in 2015. “During the past two years, my students have worked very hard to set up a unique combination of growth and characterization experimental facilities in my lab, and obtain preliminary data demonstrating the feasibility of the proposed research. Along the way, I have benefitted immensely from the assistance of many of my colleagues here in the department, who provided advice and helped me shape the proposal both in terms of research and outreach activities. Finally, I am thankful to my faculty mentor and Department Chairman, Prof. Michael J. Naughton who offered encouragement and provided feedback during this process.”