Scientific Highlights from Research Division
Research with Neutrons and Muons (NUM)
Here we investigate antiferromagnetic Eu5In2Sb6, a nonsymmorphic Zintl phase. Our electrical transport data show that Eu5In2Sb6 is remarkably insulating and exhibits an exceptionally large negative magnetoresistance, which is consistent with the presence of magnetic polarons. From ab initio calculations, the paramagnetic state of Eu5In2Sb6 is a topologically nontrivial semimetal within the generalized gradient approximation (GGA), whereas an insulating state with trivial topological indices is obtained using a modified Becke−Johnson potential.
Handedness-dependent quasiparticle interference in the two enantiomers of the topological chiral semimetal PdGa
It has recently been proposed that combining chirality with topological band theory results in a totally new class of fermions. Understanding how these unconventional quasiparticles propagate and interact remains largely unexplored so far. Here, we use scanning tunneling microscopy to visualize the electronic properties of the prototypical chiral topological semimetal PdGa.
At an interface between a topological insulator (TI) and a conventional superconductor (SC), superconductivity has been predicted to change dramatically and exhibit novel correlations. In particular, the induced superconductivity by an s-wave SC in a TI can develop an order parameter with a p-wave component. Here we present experimental evidence for an unexpected proximity-induced novel super- conducting state in a thin layer of the prototypical TI, Bi2Se3 proximity coupled to Nb.
Noncollinear magnetic order arises for various reasons in several magnetic systems and exhibits interesting spin dynamics. Despite its ubiquitous presence, little is known of how magnons, otherwise stable quasiparticles, decay in these systems, particularly in metallic magnets. Using inelastic neutron scattering, we examine the magnetic excitation spectra in a metallic noncollinear antiferromagnet CrB2, in which Cr atoms form a triangular lattice and display incommensurate magnetic order. Our data show intrinsic magnon damping ...
Macroscopic manifestation of domain-wall magnetism and magnetoelectric effect in a Néel-type skyrmion host
We report a magnetic state in GaV4Se8 which emerges exclusively in samples with mesoscale polar domains and not in polar mono- domain crystals. It is manifested by a sharp anomaly in the magnetic susceptibility and the magnetic torque, distinct from other anomalies observed also in polar mono-domain samples upon transitions between the cycloidal, the Néel-type skyrmion lattice and the ferromagnetic states.
We have used neutron spectroscopy to investigate the spin dynamics of the quantum (S=1/2) antiferromagnetic Ising chains in RbCoCl3. The structure and magnetic interactions in this material conspire to produce two magnetic phase transitions at low temperatures, presenting an ideal opportunity for thermal control of the chain environment. The high-resolution spectra we measure ...
Phase boundary dynamics of bubble flow in a thick liquid metal layer under an applied magnetic field
We investigate argon bubble flow in liquid gallium within a container large enough to avoid wall effects. Flow with and without applied horizontal magnetic field is studied. We demonstrate the successful capture and quantification of the effects of applied magnetic field using dynamic neutron radiography and the previously developed and validated robust image processing pipeline, supported by the in silico reproduction of our experiment.
Z3-vestigial nematic order due to superconducting fluctuations in the doped topological insulators NbxBi2Se3 and CuxBi2Se3
A state of matter with a multi-component order parameter can give rise to vestigial order. In the vestigial phase, the primary order is only partially melted, leaving a remaining symmetry breaking behind, an effect driven by strong classical or quantum fluctuations. Vestigial states due to primary spin and charge-density-wave order have been discussed in iron-based and cuprate materials. Here we present the observation of a partially melted superconductivity in which pairing fluctuations condense at a separate phase transition and form a nematic state with broken Z3, i.e., three-state Potts-model symmetry.
Simultaneous Nodal Superconductivity and Time-Reversal Symmetry Breaking in the Noncentrosymmetric Superconductor CaPtAs
By employing a series of experimental techniques, we provide clear evidence that CaPtAs represents a rare example of a noncentrosymmetric superconductor which simultaneously exhibits nodes in the superconducting gap and broken time-reversal symmetry (TRS) in its superconducting state (belowTc ≈ 1.5 K). Unlike in fully gapped superconductors, the magnetic penetration depth λ(T) does not saturate at low temperatures, but instead it shows a T2 dependence, characteristic of gap nodes.
In general, magnetism and superconductivity are antagonistic to each other. However, there are several families of superconductors in which superconductivity coexists with magnetism, and a few examples are known where the superconductivity itself induces spontaneous magnetism. The best known of these compounds are Sr2RuO4 and some non-centrosymmetric superconductors. Here, we report the finding of ...
The ancient purple pigment used to paint the terracotta warriors, BaCuSi2O6, is also a quantum magnetic material which consists of stacked Cu2+ bilayers hosting spin dimers. Magnetometry and NMR experiments have revealed puzzling critical phenomena at the quantum phase transition (QPT) caused by an applied magnetic field, which suggest that the universal behaviour of the system is not three- but only two-dimensional. By performing high-resolution neutron spectroscopy measurements .....
LaTiOxNy oxynitride thin films are employed to study the surface modifications at the solid- liquid interface that occur during photoelectrocatalytic water splitting. Neutron reflectometry and grazing incidence x-ray absorption spectroscopy were utilised to distinguish between the surface and bulk signals, with a surface sensitivity of 3 nm.
Elucidating the role of different degrees of freedom in a phase transition is crucial in the comprehension of complex materi- als. A phase transformation that attracts significant interest is the insulator-to-metal transition of Mott insulators, in which the electrons are thought to play the dominant role. Here, we use ultrafast laser spectroscopy and theoretical calculations ....
With experimental work demonstrating that the correlated ground state of the pyrochlore system Ce2Sn2O7 is a quantum liquid of magnetic octupoles, an international team led by PSI researcher Romain Sibille establishes a fundamentally new state of matter: higher-rank multipole ice.
We show that hybrid MnOx/C60 heterojunctions can be used to design a storage device for spin-polarized charge: a spin capacitor. Hybridization at the carbon-metal oxide interface leads to spin-polarized charge trapping after an applied voltage or photocurrent. Strong electronic structure changes, including a 1-eV energy shift and spin polarization in the C60 lowest unoccupied molecular orbital, are then revealed by x-ray absorption spectroscopy, in agreement with density functional theory simulations.
Detailed understanding of charge diffusion processes in a lithium-ion battery is crucial to enable its systematic improvement. Experimental investigation of diffusion at the interface between active particles and the electrolyte is challenging but warrants investigation as it can introduce resistances that, for example, limit the charge and discharge rates. Here, we show an approach to study diffusion at interfaces using muon spin spectroscopy.
Spin-based logic architectures provide nonvolatile data retention, near-zero leakage, and scalability, extending the technology roadmap beyond complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor logic. Architectures based on magnetic domain walls take advantage of the fast motion, high density, non-volatility and flexible design of domain walls to process and store information. Such schemes, however, rely on domain-wall manipulation and clocking using an external magnetic field, which limits their implementation in dense, large-scale chips.
Topological properties of materials are of fundamental as well as practical importance. Of particular interest are unconven- tional superconductors that break time-reversal symmetry, for which the superconducting state is protected topologically and vortices can host Majorana fermions with potential use in quantum computing. However, in striking contrast to the unconventional A phase of superfluid 3He where chiral symmetry was directly observed, .....
A la source de neutrons ultra-froids du PSI, des chercheurs ont mesuré une propriété du neutron avec une précision inégalée à ce jour: son moment dipolaire électrique. Aujourd’hui encore, on cherche en effet à comprendre pourquoi il est apparu plus de matière que d’antimatière après le Big Bang.
Des chercheurs ont développé une nouvelle méthode d’analyse qui leur a permis de visualiser la structure magnétique à l’intérieur d’un matériau à l’échelle du nanomètre. Ils ont réussi à réaliser un petit «film» de sept images qui montre pour la première fois en 3D les changements que de minuscules tourbillons magnétiques subissent au cœur du matériau.