Scientific Highlights from Research Division
Research with Neutrons and Muons (NUM)
In experiments at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, an international research collaboration has measured the radius of the atomic nucleus of helium five times more precisely than ever before. The researchers are publishing their results today in the journal Nature.
The interplay between oxygen and spin ordering for the low oxygen doped Nd2NiO4.10 has been investigated by single-crystal neutron diffraction. We find a coexistence of the magnetic order below TN with the 3D ordering of excess oxygen atoms, which has not been previously observed for the homologous nickelates. Moreover, the magnetic ordering modulation vectors are no longer independent and exactly follow the modulation vectors of the oxygen ordering.
A better understanding of quantum spin liquids (QSLs), where spin dimer configurations are fluctuating even at the low- est temperatures, could be of use in quantum information, in superconducting or other technologies. This macroscopic collective state typically arises from geometrical frustration or low dimensionality. In the layered EDT-BCO, we report a QSL state, which is generated, on different bases, with the intrinsic disorder.
Quantum spin liquids are materials that feature quantum entangled spin correlations and avoid magnetic long-range order at T =0 K. Particularly interesting are two-dimensional honeycomb spin lattices where a plethora of exotic quantum spin liquids have been predicted. Here, we experimentally study an effective S = 1/2 Heisenberg honeycomb lattice with competing nearest and next-nearest-neighbour interactions.
Magnetic skyrmions are well-suited for encoding information because they are nano-sized, topologically stable, and only require ultra-low critical current densities jc to depin from the underlying atomic lattice. Above jc, skyrmions exhibit well-controlled motion, making them prime candidates for race-track memories. In thin films thermally-activated creep motion of isolated skyrmions was observed below jc as predicted by theory.
Magnetic skyrmion is a topologically protected particle-like object in magnetic materials, appearing as a nanometric swirling spin texture. The size and shape of skyrmion particles can be flexibly controlled by external stimuli, which suggests unique features of their crystallization and lattice transformation process. Here, we investigated the detailed mechanism of structural transition of skyrmion lattice (SkL) in a prototype chiral cubic magnet Cu2OSeO3, by combining resonant soft X-ray scattering (RSXS) experiment and micromagnetic simulation...
Quantum materials have properties that defy conventional theories of solids. Explaining these unusual properties is a frontier in physics, which promises both technological applications and fundamentally new states of matter. Yb2Ti2O7 is a center of attention in this work. While it becomes ferromagnetic at very low temperature, its excitation spectrum resembles that of a quantum spin liquid. We show using neutron scattering ...
Re(1−x)Mox as an ideal test case of time-reversal symmetry breaking in unconventional superconductors
Non-centrosymmetric superconductors (NCSCs) are promising candidates in the search for unconventional and topological superconductivity. The α-Mn-type rhenium-based alloys represent excellent examples of NCSCs, where spontaneous magneticfields, peculiar to time-reversal symmetry (TRS) breaking, have been shown to develop in the superconducting phase. By converse, TRS is preserved in many other isostructural NCSCs, thus leaving the key question about its origin fully open. Here, we consider ...
From magnetic order to quantum disorder in the Zn-barlowite series of S = 1/2 kagomé antiferromagnets
We report a comprehensive muon spectroscopy study of the Zn-barlowite series of S=1/2 kagomé antiferromagnets, ZnxCu4−x(OH)6FBr, for x = 0.00 to 0.99(1). By combining muon spin relaxation and rotation measurements with state-of-the-art density-functional theory muon-site calculations, we observe the formation of both μ–F and μ–OH complexes in Zn-barlowite. From these stopping sites, implanted muon spins reveal the suppression of long-range magnetic order into a possible quantum spin liquid state upon the increasing concentration of Zn-substitution.
In the past years, the strategies used to break the Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGS) light to power conversion effi- ciency world record value were based on improvements of the absorber optoelectronic and crystalline properties, mainly using complex post-deposition treatments. To reach even higher efficiency values, fur- ther advances in the solar cell architecture are needed, in particular, with respect to the CIGS interfaces. In this study, we evaluate the structural, morphological and optoelectronic impact of an Al2O3 layer as a potential front passivation layer on the CIGS properties, as well as an Al2O3 tunneling layer between CIGS and CdS.
We demonstrate efficient transverse compression of a 12.5 MeV=c muon beam stopped in a helium gas target featuring a vertical density gradient and crossed electric and magnetic fields. The muon stop distribution extending vertically over 14 mm was reduced to a 0.25 mm size (rms) within 3.5 μs. The simulation including cross sections ...
3D magnetic nanostructures are of great interest due to the possibility to design novel properties and the benefits for both technological applications such as high-density data storage, as well as more fundamental studies.
One of the main challenges facing the realization of these three-dimensional systems is their fabrication, which includes the deposition of magnetic materials on 3D surfaces. In this work, the electroless deposition of Ni–Fe
on a 3D-printed, non-conductive microstructure is presented.
In the three-dimensional (3D) Heisenberg model, topological point defects known as spin hedgehogs behave as emergent magnetic monopoles, i.e., quantized sources and sinks of gauge fields that couple strongly to conduction electrons, and cause unconventional transport responses such as the gigantic Hall effect. We observe a dramatic change in the Hall effect upon the transformation of a spin hedgehog crystal in a chiral magnet MnGe through combined measurements of magnetotransport and small-angle neutron scattering (SANS).
Magnetic skyrmions are topological solitons with a nanoscale winding spin texture that hold promise for spintronics applications. Skyrmions have so far been observed in a variety of magnets that exhibit nearly parallel alignment for neighbouring spins, but theoretically skyrmions with anti-parallel neighbouring spins are also possible. Such antiferromagnetic skyrmions may allow more flexible control than conventional ferromagnetic skyrmions. Here, by combining neutron scattering measurements and Monte Carlo simulations, we show that a fractional antiferromagnetic skyrmion lattice is stabilized in MnSc2S4 through anisotropic couplings.
Understanding the relationship between entangled degrees of freedom (DOF) is a central problem in correlated materials and the possibility to influence their balance is promising toward realizing novel functionalities. In Sr2IrO4, the interaction between spin–orbit coupling and electron correlations induces an exotic ground state with magnetotransport properties promising for antiferromagnetic spintronics applications.
One-pot neutron imaging of surface phenomena, swelling and diffusion during methane absorption in ethanol and n-decane under high pressure
We study the gas diffusion in still liquids under gas high pressures. We demonstrate that the pressure-induced gas diffusion, liquid swelling and the liquid surface tension can be measured simultaneously in a one-pot experiment. The measurements are performed using the high-resolution neutron imaging in a non-tactile way. A major advantage of this new method is that the determination of surface tension necessitate no assumptions imposed on the properties of the liquid.
We present a combination of thermodynamic and dynamic experimental signatures of a disorder driven dynamic cooperative paramagnet in a 50% site diluted triangular lattice spin-1/2 system: Y2CuTiO6. Magnetic ordering and spin freezing are absent down to 50 mK, far below the Curie-Weiss scale (-θCW) of ∼134 K.
Quantum states induced by single-atomic impurities are at the frontier of physics and material science. While such states have been reported in high-temperature superconductors and dilute magnetic semiconductors, they are unexplored in topological magnets which can feature spin-orbit tunability. Here we use spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscopy/ spectroscopy (STM/S) to study the engineered quantum impurity in a topological magnet Co3Sn2S2. We find that each substituted In impurity introduces a striking localized bound state.
Using Uniaxial Stress to Probe the Relationship between Competing Superconducting States in a Cuprate with Spin-stripe Order
We report muon spin rotation and magnetic susceptibility experiments on in-plane stress effects on the static spin-stripe order and superconductivity in the cuprate system La2−xBaxCuO4 with x = 0.115. An extremely low uniaxial stress of ∼0.1 GPa induces a substantial decrease in the magnetic volume fraction and a dramatic rise in the onset of 3D superconductivity, from ∼10 to 32 K.
Recently, discrepancies of up to 4σ between the different determinations of the Cabibbo angle were observed. In this context, we point out that this “Cabibbo-angle anomaly” can be explained by lepton flavor universality violating new physics in the neutrino sector. However, modified neutrino couplings to standard model gauge bosons also affect many other observables sensitive to lepton flavor universality violation, which have to be taken into account in order to assess the viability of this explanation.