Scientific Highlights from Research Division
Research with Neutrons and Muons (NUM)
Combining magnetic and superconducting functionalities enables lower energy spin transfer and magnetic switching in quantum computing and information storage, owing to the dissipationless nature of quasi-particle mediated supercurrents. Here, we put forward a system where emergent spin-ordering and diffusion of Cooper pairs are achieved at a non-intrinsically magnetic nor superconducting metallo-molecular interface.
PbMO3 (M = 3d transition metals) family shows systematic variations in charge distribution and intriguing physical properties due to its delicate energy balance between Pb 6s and transition metal 3d orbitals. However, the detailed structure and physical properties of PbFeO3 remain unclear. Herein, we reveal that PbFeO3 crystallizes into an unusual 2ap × 6ap × 2ap orthorhombic perovskite super unit cell with space group Cmcm.
The unconventional normal-state properties of the cuprates are often discussed in terms of emergent electronic order that onsets below a putative critical doping of xc≈0.19. Charge density wave (CDW) correlations represent one such order; however, experimental evidence for such order generally spans a limited range of doping that falls short of the critical value xc, leading to questions regarding its essential relevance. Here, we use X-ray diffraction to demonstrate that CDW correlations in La2−xSrxCuO4 persist up to a doping of at least x=0.21.
Strontium ruthenate (Sr2RuO4) continues to present an important test of our understanding of unconventional superconductivity, because while its normal-state electronic structure is known with precision, its superconductivity remains unexplained. There is evidence that its order parameter is chiral, but reconciling this with recent observations of the spin part of the pairing requires an order parameter that is either finely tuned or implies a new form of pairing. Therefore, a definitive resolution of whether the superconductivity of Sr2RuO4 is chiral is important for the study of superconductivity.
The discovery of superconductivity in a d9−δ nickelate has inspired disparate theoretical perspectives regarding the essential physics of this class of materials. A key issue is the magnitude of the magnetic superexchange, which relates to whether cuprate-like high-temperature nickelate superconductivity could be realized. We address this question using Ni L-edge and O K-edge spectroscopy of the reduced d9−1/3 trilayer nickelates R4Ni3O8 (where R = La, Pr) and associated theoretical modeling.
Decomposing Magnetic Dark-Field Contrast in Spin Analyzed Talbot-Lau Interferometry: A Stern-Gerlach Experiment without Spatial Beam Splitting
We have recently shown how a polarized beam in Talbot-Lau interferometric imaging can be used to analyze strong magnetic fields through the spin dependent differential phase effect at field gradients. While in that case an adiabatic spin coupling with the sample field is required, here we investigate a nonadiabatic coupling causing a spatial splitting of the neutron spin states with respect to the external magnetic field. This subsequently leads to no phase contrast signal but a loss of interferometer visibility referred to as dark-field contrast.
Unconventional Transverse Transport above and below the Magnetic Transition Temperature in Weyl Semimetal EuCd2As2
As exemplified by the growing interest in the quantum anomalous Hall effect, the research on topology as an organizing principle of quantum matter is greatly enriched from the interplay with magnetism. In this vein, we present a combined electrical and thermoelectrical transport study on the magnetic Weyl semimetal EuCd2As2. Unconventional contribution to the anomalous Hall and anomalous Nernst effects were observed both above and below the magnetic transition temperature of EuCd2As2, indicating the existence of significant Berry curvature.
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).