Adjunct Associate Professor Nicholas Butch will receive the National Institute of Science and Technology’s 2020 Samuel Wesley Stratton Award "for pioneering research into the exotic physics and extremely high-field re-entrant superconductivity in uranium ditelluride." The Stratton Award, named after the first director of the National Bureau of Standards, as NIST was then known, recognizes an unusually significant research contribution to science or engineering that merits the acclaim of the scientific world and supports NIST’s mission objectives.
Among Butch’s research pursuits are quantum materials and superconductivity. In 2019, he and collaborators discovered superconductivity in the material uranium ditelluride (UTe2) and then described a remarkable quirk: high magnetic fields seem to stabilize, not destroy, its superconducting state. This resilience could make UTe2 a promising material for use in quantum computers.
Earlier in 2020, Butch and collaborators also announced that experiments with UTe2 revealed that it might contain the long-sought Majorana fermion.
Butch earned his Ph.D. in 2008 at the University of California, San Diego. In 2017, he received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers.