Scientific Highlights from Research Division
Research with Neutrons and Muons (NUM)
Magnetic-Field Control of Topological Electronic Response near Room Temperature in Correlated Kagome Magnets
Strongly correlated kagome magnets are promising candidates for achieving controllable topological devices owing to the rich interplay between inherent Dirac fermions and correlation-driven magnetism. Here we report tunable local magnetism and its intriguing control of topological electronic response near room temperature in the kagome magnet Fe3Sn2 using small angle neutron scattering, muon spin rotation, and magnetoresistivity measurement techniques.
It is reminiscent of a paper bird made with the help of the Japanese folding art origami: a microrobot that uses the force of magnetic fields to move. In the future, such small machines could be used, for example, in medical operations.
Shape-morphing systems, which can perform complex tasks through morphological transformations, are of great interest for future applications in minimally invasive medicine, soft robotics, active metamaterials and smart surfaces. With current fabrication methods, shape-morphing configurations have been embedded into structural design by, for example, spatial distribution of heterogeneous materials, which cannot be altered once fabricated.
We report muon spin rotation and magnetization measurements under pressure on Fe1+δSe1−xSx with x ≈ 0.11. Above p ≈ 0.6 GPa we find a microscopic coexistence of superconductivity with an extended dome of long range magnetic order that spans a pressure range between previously reported separated magnetic phases.
Phonon engineering of solids enables the creation of materials with tailored heat-transfer properties, controlled elastic and acoustic vibration propagation, and custom phonon-electron and phonon-photon interactions. These can be leveraged for energy transport, harvesting, or isolation applications and in the creation of novel phonon-based devices, including photoacoustic systems and phonon-communication networks.
Recently, the transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD) system 2M-WS2 has been identified as a Dirac semimetal exhibiting both superconductivity with the highest Tc ~ 8.5 K among all the TMD materials and topological surface states. Here we report on muon spin rotation (μSR) and density functional theory studies of microscopic SC properties and the electronic structure in 2M-WS2 at ambient and under hydrostatic pressures (pmax = 1.9 GPa).
Quantum materials that feature magnetic long-range order often reveal complex phase diagrams when localized electrons become mobile. In many materials magnetism is rapidly suppressed as electronic charges dissolve into the conduction band. In materials where magnetism persists, it is unclear how the magnetic properties are affected.
Visualization and quantification of inhomogeneous and anisotropic magnetic fields by polarized neutron grating interferometry
The intrinsic magnetic moment of a neutron, combined with its charge neutrality, is a unique property which allows the investigation of magnetic phenomena in matter. Here we present how the utilization of a cold polarized neutron beam in neutron grating interferometry enables the visualization and characterization of magnetic properties on a microscopic scale in macroscopic samples.
Liposomes of specific artificial phospholipids, such as Pad-PC-Pad and Rad-PC-Rad, are mechanically responsive. They can release encapsulated therapeutics via physical stimuli, as naturally present in blood flow of constricted vessel segments. The question is how these synthetic liposomes change their structure in the medically relevant temperature range from 22 to 42 °C.
Experimental signatures of a three-dimensional quantum spin liquid in effective spin-1/2 Ce2Zr2O7 pyrochlore
A quantum spin liquid is a state of matter where unpaired electrons’ spins, although entangled, do not show magnetic order even at the zero temperature. The realization of a quantum spin liquid is a long-sought goal in condensed-matter physics.
Weyl fermions as emergent quasiparticles can arise in Weyl semimetals (WSMs) in which the energy bands are nondegenerate, resulting from inversion or time-reversal symmetry breaking. Nevertheless, experimental evidence for magnetically induced WSMs is scarce. Here, using photoemission spectroscopy, we observe that the degeneracy of Bloch bands is already lifted in the paramagnetic phase of EuCd2As2. We attribute this effect to the itinerant electrons experiencing quasi-static and quasi–long-range ferromagnetic fluctuations.
Water is a ubiquitous liquid with unique physicochemical properties, whose nature has shaped our planet and life as we know it. Water in restricted geometries has different properties than in bulk. Confinement can prevent low-temperature crystalliza- tion of the molecules into a hexagonal structure and thus create a state of amorphous water. To understand the survival of life at subzero temperatures, it is essential to elucidate this behaviour in the presence of nanoconfining lipidic membranes.
Tomonaga-Luttinger Liquid Spin Dynamics in the Quasi-One-Dimensional Ising-Like Antiferromagnet BaCo2V2O8
Combining inelastic neutron scattering and numerical simulations, we study the quasi-one-dimensional Ising anisotropic quantum antiferromagnet BaCo2V2O8 in a longitudinal magnetic field. This material shows a quantum phase transition from a Néel ordered phase at zero field to a longitudinal incommensurate spin density wave at a critical magnetic field of 3.8 T.
The notion of a simple ordered state implies homogeneity. If the order is established by a broken symmetry, the elementary Landau theory of phase transitions shows that only one symmetry mode describes this state. At the exact points of phase coexistence, domain states composed of large regions of different phases can be stabilized by long-range interactions.
We report a proximity-driven large anomalous Hall effect in all-telluride heterostructures consisting of the ferromagnetic insulator Cr2Ge2Te6 and topological insulator (Bi,Sb)2Te3. Despite small magnetization in the (Bi,Sb)2Te3 layer, the anomalous Hall conductivity reaches a large value of 0.2e2/h in accord with a ferromagnetic response of the Cr2Ge2Te6.
PSI researchers are helping the European space program: Their neutron imaging serves to ensure the quality of critical components for rocket launches.
Nb3Sn is currently the most promising material other than niobium for future superconducting radiofrequency cavities. Critical fields above 120 mT in pulsed operation and about 80 mT in CW have been achieved in cavity tests. This is large compared to the lower critical field as derived from the London penetration depth, extracted from low field surface impedance measurements.
A method to measure the superconducting (SC) stiffness tensor ρs, without subjecting the sample to external magnetic field, is applied to La1.875Sr0.125CuO4. The method is based on the London equation J=-ρsA, where J is the current density and A is the vector potential which is applied in the SC state.
With a specific stimulus, shape‐memory materials can assume a temporary shape and subsequently recover their original shape, a functionality that renders them relevant for applications in fields such as biomedicine, aerospace, and wearable electronics. Shape‐memory in polymers and composites is usually achieved by exploiting a thermal transition to program a temporary shape and subsequently recover the original shape.
Multidimensional Characterization of Mixed Ligand Nanoparticles Using Small Angle Neutron Scattering
The properties of ligand protected gold nanoparticles are determined by the synergistic interplay of their structural components, including the metal core, the ligand shell, and the solvation layer. However, the simultaneous characterization of all these components remains a major challenge given their disparate chemical nature.