Matjaž Gomilšek wins the Jožef Stefan Golden Emblem Prize for an outstanding PhD thesis

Each year at the end of March the Jožef Stefan Institute awards the Jožef Stefan Golden Emblem Prizes for winning PhD dissertations in the fields of natural sciences, medicine and biotechnology. This year, one of three awarded works is the PhD thesis of Dr. Matjaž Gomilšek, entitled “Quantum Spin Liquids on Geometrically Frustrated Kagome Lattices“.

In this work under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Andrej Zorko, Matjaž Gomilšek studied quantum magnetism in quantum spin liquids, one of the few examples of materials where the enigmatic quantum effects are manifested on the macroscopic level. One of those effects is quantum entanglement, which was dubbed “spooky action at a distance” by Einstein.

“During my PhD, me and my colleagues discovered a brand new quantum spin liquid, which we named Zn-brochantite, and thoroughly studied its quantum behaviour under different conditions. In it we also discovered the first experimental realization of the spinon Kondo effect, which was theoretically predicted two decades ago and could be the key to realizing robust topological quantum computers based on quantum spin liquids,” said Matjaž, who spent a year and a half after his PhD as a postdoctoral research associate at Durham University in the United Kingdom. In October 2019, he returned to the Jožef Stefan Institute, where he wishes to stay.

“Under the current circumstances, I work from home, analysing the results of previous experiments, writing articles, and continuing the theoretical work I started in the United Kingdom. So even though I am unable to perform new experiments, I will not run out of work anytime soon. However, I do miss socializing and face-to-face discussions with my colleagues. As everybody, I sincerely hope that the circumstances improve as soon as possible.”