France establishes new quantum lab at CQT

Around 20 scientists will participate in the MajuLab joint research unit directed by Christian Miniatura
16 June 2014

Merlion photo by flickr user Erwin Soo

The MajuLab is a joint initiative of French and Singaporean researchers in quantum and condensed matter physics, hosted in Singapore (pictured). Photo: Erwin Soo via Flickr CC-BY-2.0


CQT is hosting a new French laboratory in quantum and condensed matter physics called the "MajuLab", under the leadership of CQT Visiting Research Professor Christian Miniatura.

The lab was signed into existence on 30 May by the participating parties – the National University of Singapore (NUS), the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the French national research organisation CNRS – in a ceremony in Singapore.

"We have worked hard to reach this point and my thanks go to all the collaborators, colleagues, friends and officials who have made this whole adventure possible. We have now to roll up our sleeves again to turn the newly-born MajuLab into a successful France-Singapore joint research unit," says Christian, who is a CNRS Director of Research.

The MajuLab will conduct advanced and interdisciplinary research in areas including quantum physics, quantum information, quantum computing, two-dimensional materials and soft condensed matter, nanoscale physics and laser physics.

The lab's name is a tribute to Singapore's national anthem, Majulah Singapura (Onward Singapore).

Around 20 scientists in Singapore will participate in the MajuLab, coming from CQT's staff, the Graphene Research Centre at NUS, and NTU. French researchers working full time in Singapore at CQT are Christian, David Wilkowski and Benoit Gremaud. The lab's deputy director is Berge Englert, CQT PI and NUS Professor.

With the agreement just signed, the Majulab is established until January 2018, but its history is already long. The lab grows from a collaboration dating back to 2008, when researchers from CNRS first arrived at CQT. The official level of the collaboration has increased in steps even since.

Christian Miniatura

Around 20 scientists will participate in the research lab directed by Christian Miniatura (pictured).


In 2011, CQT formed an International Associated Laboratory (LIA) with CNRS. The new lab is defined as a "UMI", or International Mixed Unit, under the CNRS system. This is the top level, giving the lab the legal status of a French research facility. "The LIA is dead, long live the UMI! CQT has been a wonderful, nurturing host along all these past years. I am also very happy that the scope of the UMI has now expanded to include the Graphene Centre next door and to the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at NTU," says Christian.

Establishing the UMI supports the exchange of staff and funds between France and Singapore. CNRS has 35 UMI worldwide, four of which are in Singapore.

Other initiatives announced during the visit to Singapore by French officials included a new joint call for collaborative research projects worth up to $1 million per project. The first call is expected later this year.

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Note: This story has been updated to reflect a change in the name of the lab from Merlion-MajuLab to MajuLab.