This highlight presents a successful, in-house developed integration of an Electron Beam Ion Source (EBIS) able to ionize gases to high charge states with a customized commercial MC-ICP-MS. The successful joining of the two ion flight paths is a milestone towards comprehensive routine analyses of solids, liquids, and gases using THE SAME MASS SPECTROMETER, the latter analyses free from atmospheric contamination. After implementation of an introduction system for gas mass spectrometry, routine analyses will comprise isotope ratio and relative abundance determinations of fission gases in used nuclear fuel. In addition to the unique versatility of the MC-EBIS-ICP-MS, inclusion of the EBIS furthers opens the little-studied field of mass spectrometry of highly charged ions.
The reaction of elemental scandium and zirconium powders with liquid aluminum is observed directly via operando X-ray diffraction during laser 3D printing. This work demonstrates that elemental blends can be used to create fine-grained crack-free Al-alloys and highlights the importance of feature size.
The layered perovskite YBaCuFeO5 is a rare example of a cycloidal spiral magnet whose ordering temperature Tspiral can be tuned far beyond room temperature by adjusting the degree of Cu2+/ Fe3+ chemical disorder in the structure. This unusual property qualifies this material as one of the most promising spin-driven multiferroic candidates. However, very little is known about the response of the spiral to magnetic fields, crucial for magnetoelectric cross-control applications. Using bulk magnetization and neutron powder diffraction measurements under magnetic fields up to 9 T, we report here a temperature-magnetic field phase diagram of this material. Besides revealing a strong stability of the spiral state, our data uncover the presence of weak ferromagnetism coexisting with the spiral modulation. Since ferromagnets can be easily manipulated with magnetic fields, this observation opens new perspectives for the control of the spiral orientation, directly linked to the polarization direction, as well as for a possible future use of this material in technological applications.
Combining time-resolved soft X-ray STXM imaging with magnetic laminography, researchers were able to investigate magnetization dynamics in a ferromagnetic microstructure resolved in all three spatial dimensions and in time. Thanks to the possibility of freely selecting the frequency of the excitation applied to the magnetic element, this technique opens the possibility to investigate resonant magneto-dynamical processes, such as e.g. magnetic vortex core gyration and switching, and spinwave emission.
Water boiling control evolution of natural geothermal systems is widely exploited in industrial processes due to the unique non-linear thermophysical behavior. Even though the properties of water both in the liquid and gas state have been extensively studied experimentally and by numerical simulations, there is still a fundamental knowledge gap in understanding the mechanism of the heterogeneous nucleate boiling controlling evaporation and condensation. In this study, the molecular mechanism of bubble nucleation at the hydrophilic and hydrophobic solid–water interface was determined by performing unbiased molecular dynamics simulations using the transition path sampling scheme. Analyzing the liquid to vapor transition path, the initiation of small void cavities (vapor bubbles nuclei) and their subsequent merging mechanism, leading to successively growing vacuum domains (vapor phase), has been elucidated. The simulations reveal the impact of the surface functionality on the adsorbed thin water molecules film structuring and the location of high probability nucleation sites.
Static stripe order is detrimental to superconductivity. Yet, it has been proposed that transverse stripe fluctuations may enhance the inter-stripe Josephson coupling and thus promote superconductivity. Direct experimental studies of stripe dynamics, however, remain difficult. From a strong-coupling perspective, transverse stripe fluctuations are realized in the form of dynamic “kinks”—sideways shifting stripe sections. Here, we show how modest uniaxial pressure tuning reorganizes directional kink alignment.
Magnetic skyrmions are topologically stable swirling spin textures with particle-like char- acter, and have been intensively studied as a candidate of high-density information bit. While magnetic skyrmions were originally discovered in noncentrosymmetric systems with Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction, recently a nanometric skyrmion lattice has also been reported for centrosymmetric rare-earth compounds, such as Gd2PdSi3 and GdRu2Si2. For the latter systems, a distinct skyrmion formation mechanism mediated by itinerant electrons has been proposed, and the search of a simpler model system allowing for a better understanding of their intricate magnetic phase diagram is highly demanded. Here, we report the discovery of square and rhombic lattices of nanometric skyrmions in a centrosymmetric binary compound EuAl4, by performing small-angle neutron and resonant elastic X-ray scattering experiments.
PSI hosted again the Hercules School in March 2022. We had the pleasure to welcome 20 international PhD students, PostDocs and scientists to demonstrate our state-of-the-art techniques and methodologies at our large scale facilities, the Swiss Light Source (SLS), the Swiss Spallation Neutron Source (SINQ) and our free electron laser SwissFEL.
Topological semimetals are three dimensional materials with symmetry-protected massless bulk excitations. As a special case, Weyl nodal-line semimetals are realized in materials having either no inversion or broken time-reversal symmetry and feature bulk nodal lines. The 111-family, including LaNiSi, LaPtSi and LaPtGe materials (all lacking inversion symmetry), belongs to this class. Here, by combining muon-spin rotation and relaxation with thermodynamic measurements, we find that these materials exhibit a fully- gapped superconducting ground state, while spontaneously breaking time-reversal symmetry at the superconducting transition.
Recent observations of novel spin-orbit coupled states have generated interest in 4d/5d transition metal systems. A prime example is the Jeff = 1/2 state in iridate materials and α-RuCl that drives Kitaev interactions. Here, by tuning the competition between spin-orbit interaction (λSOC) and trigonal crystal field (ΔT), we restructure the spin-orbital wave functions into a previously unobserved μ=1/2 state that drives Ising interactions.