Lab Canada

Physicist recognized as distinguished researcher

Saskatoon, SK – John Tse, Canada Research Chair in Theoretical Materials Science at the University of Saskatechwan, was recently recognized with the University of Saskatchewan’s 2010 Distinguished Researcher Award.

Based in the department of physics and engineering physics, Dr Tse is a computational theorist and materials scientist internationally recognized as a researcher who is equally at home in both theory and experiment. Using computational methods and a beamline at the Canadian Light Source on the University of Saskatchewan’s campus, he explores the behaviour of materials under high pressures and temperatures.

“This line of research could lead to advanced alloys and electronics, as well as a better understanding of the chemistry and dynamics of Earth’s molten iron core,” he says. “While we cannot go to the centre of the earth, we can mimic those extreme conditions in a laboratory, investigate the properties of materials under these conditions, and extrapolate and predict exactly what is going on under our feet. That is very important in understanding the structure of the earth.”

He recently identified a new family of superconductors that could eventually lead to the design of better superconducting materials for a wide variety of industrial uses. Along with colleagues in Germany, he produced the first experimental proof that superconductivity can occur in hydrogen compounds known as molecular hydrides.

“We can show that if you apply pressure to a simple molecular hydrogen compound, you can get superconductivity,” he says. “Validation of this hypothesis and understanding of the mechanism are initial steps for design of better superconducting materials.”

Dr Tse joined the U of S in 2004 after a career at the National Research Council’s Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences.