The American Physical Society (APS
) has recognised Prof. Thom Palstra for his pioneering experiments in superconductivity and magnetism, which have given rise not to one but to various breakthroughs and discoveries in fields so diverse as strongly correlated oxides or organics. The Fellowship is recognition by his colleagues of his extraordinary contributions to research. Only a half percent at most of the members of the American Physical Society are honoured in this fashion. Palstra is head of the Solid State Materials for Electronics group and director of the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials.
Palstra and his collaborators in Leiden discovered superconductivity in URu2Si2, which was the first antiferromagnetic superconducting system. Later on, at Bell Labs, he discovered superconductivity in potassium-doped "buckyballs" (famous fullerenes) and fabricated the first fullerene-based transistors; in high Tc superconductivity he discovered the reason for the lower critical fields found in these materials.
More recently, already at the University of Groningen, his studies on mobility of pentacene crystals and multiferroics have been crucial works in both fields. His seminal paper on pentacene crystals, together with his former PhD Oana Jurchescu and lab analyst Jacob Baas, was still last month among the three most cited papers within the Applied Physics Letters journal.
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