Journal Club do Departamento de Física dos Materiais e Mecânica

Home      Help        About      Archive


Journal Club do Departamento de Física de Materias do IFUSP

Os seminários serão realizados às terças-feiras às 12h15min nos meses de março a junho e agosto a novembro, na sala José Roberto Leite - Ed. Alessandro Volta - Bloco C, Sala 110.

Veja abaixo a programação para os seminários da semana.



Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Precision Measurement of the Electron's Electric Dipole Moment Using Trapped Molecular Ions

We describe the first precision measurement of the electron’s electric dipole moment (de) using trapped molecular ions, demonstrating the application of spin interrogation times over 700 ms to achieve high sensitivity and stringent rejection of systematic errors. Through electron spin resonance spectroscopy on 180Hf19Fþ in its metastable 3 Δ1 electronic state, we obtain de ¼ ð0.9 7.7stat 1.7systÞ × 10−29 e cm, resulting in an upper bound of jdej < 1.3 × 10−28 e cm (90% confidence). Our result provides independent confirmation of the current upper bound of jdej < 9.4 × 10−29 e cm [J. Baron et al., New J. Phys. 19, 073029 (2017)], and offers the potential to improve on this limit in the near future.

read more

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Monolayer Atomic Crystal Molecular Superlattices

Artificial superlattices, based on van der Waals heterostructures of two-dimensional atomic crystals such as graphene or molybdenum disulfide, offer technological opportunities beyond the reach of existing materials. In this paper, they report an electrochemical molecular intercalation approach to a new class of stable superlattices in which monolayer atomic crystals alternate with molecular layers. Using black phosphorus as a model system, they show that intercalation with cetyl-trimethylammonium bromide produces monolayer phosphorene molecular superlattices in which the interlayer distance is more than double that in black phosphorus, effectively isolating the phosphorene monolayers. They further show that several different two-dimensional atomic crystals, such as molybdenum disulfide and tungsten diselenide, can be intercalated with quaternary ammonium molecules of varying sizes and symmetries to produce a broad class of superlattices with tailored molecular structures, interlayer distances, phase compositions, electronic and optical properties. These studies define a versatile material platform for fundamental studies and potential technological applications.

read more

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Massively parallel fabrication of crack-defined gold break junctions featuring sub-3 nm gaps for molecular devices

Break junctions provide tip-shaped contact electrodes that are fundamental components of nano and molecular electronics. However, the fabrication of break junctions remains notoriously time-consuming and difficult to parallelize. Here we demonstrate true parallel fabrication of gold break junctions featuring sub-3 nm gaps on the wafer-scale, by relying on a novel self-breaking mechanism based on controlled crack formation in notched bridge structures. We achieve fabrication densities as high as 7 million junctions per cm2, with fabrication yields of around 7% for obtaining crack-defined break junctions with sub-3 nm gaps of fixed gap width that exhibit electron tunneling. We also form molecular junctions using dithiol-terminated oligo(phenylene ethynylene) (OPE3) to demonstrate the feasibility of our approach for electrical probing of molecules down to liquid helium temperatures. Our technology opens a whole new range of experimental opportunities for nano and molecular electronics applications, by enabling very large-scale fabrication of solid-state break junctions.

Read More

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Non-hysteretic first-order phase transition with large latent heat and giant low-field magnetocaloric effect

First-order magnetic transitions (FOMTs) with a large discontinuity in magnetization are highly sought in the development of advanced functional magnetic materials. Isosymmetric magnetoelastic FOMTs that do not perturb crystal symmetry are especially rare, and only a handful of material families, almost exclusively transition metal-based, are known to exhibit them. Yet, here we report a surprising isosymmetric FOMT in a rare-earth intermetallic, Eu2In. What makes this transition in Eu2In even more remarkable is that it is associated with a large latent heat and an exceptionally high magnetocaloric effect in low magnetic fields, but with tiny lattice discontinuities and negligible hysteresis. An active role of the Eu-5d and In-4p states and a rather unique electronic structure borne by In to Eu charge transfer, altogether result in an unusual exchange mechanism that both sets the transition in motion and unveils an approach toward developing specific magnetic functionalities ad libitum.

Read More

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Evidence for Superconductivity at Temperature and Pressure in Nanostructure

Despite being a low temperature phenomenon till date, superconductivity has found numerous applications in diverse fields of medicine, science and engineering. The great scientific interest in the phenomenon as well as its practical utility has motivated extensive efforts to discover and understand new superconductors. We report the observation of superconductivity at ambient temperature and pressure conditions in films and pellets of a nanostructured material that is composed of silver particles embedded into a gold matrix. Specifically, we observe that upon cooling below 236 K at ambient pressures, the resistance of sample films drops below 10-4 Ohm, being limited by instrument sensitivity. Further, below the transition temperature, samples become strongly diamagnetic, with volume susceptibilities as low as -0.056. We further describe methods to tune the transition to temperatures higher than room temperature.

Read More

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Evidence for a Mental Health Crisis in Graduate Education

With mental illness a growing concern within graduate education, data from a new survey should prompt both academia and policy makers to consider intervention strategies. In order to address gaps in the understanding of mental health prevalence in the graduate trainee population, we deployed a comprehensive survey that included clinically validated scales for anxiety (GAD07) and depression (PHQ09) via social media and direct email. We surveyed a total of 2,279 individuals (90% PhD students and 10% Master's students). Respondents were from 26 countries and 234 institutions and represented diverse fields of study including, biological/physical science (38%), engineering (2%), humanities/social sciences (56%) and “other” (4%). The data presented here demonstrate that the graduate trainee community has a considerable prevalence of individuals with anxiety and depression. Although this is a convenience sample in which respondents who have had a history of anxiety or depression may have been more apt to respond to the survey, the data should prompt both academia and policy makers to consider intervention strategies.

Read More

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Machine Learning topological Invariants with Neural Networks

In this Letter we supervisedly train neural networks to distinguish different topological phases in the context of topological band insulators. After training with Hamiltonians of one-dimensional insulators with chiral symmetry, the neural network can predict their topological winding numbers with nearly 100% accuracy, even for Hamiltonians with larger winding numbers that are not included in the training data. These results show a remarkable success that the neural network can capture the global and nonlinear topological features of quantum phases from local inputs. By opening up the neural network, we confirm that the network does learn the discrete version of the winding number formula. We also make a couple of remarks regarding the role of the symmetry and the opposite effect of regularization techniques when applying machine learning to physical systems.

Read More


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

CaSIO3 perovskite in diamond indicates the recycling of oceanic crust into lower mantle

Laboratory experiments and seismology data have created a clear theoretical picture of the most abundant minerals that comprise the deeper parts of the Earth’s mantle. Discoveries of some of these minerals in ‘super-deep’ diamonds—formed between two hundred and about one thousand kilometres into the lower mantle—have confirmed part of this picture1,2,3,4,5. A notable exception is the high-pressure perovskite-structured polymorph of calcium silicate (CaSiO3). This mineral—expected to be the fourth most abundant in the Earth—has not previously been found in nature. Being the dominant host for calcium and, owing to its accommodating crystal structure, the major sink for heat-producing elements (potassium, uranium and thorium) in the transition zone and lower mantle, it is critical to establish its presence. Here we report the discovery of the perovskite-structured polymorph of CaSiO3 in a diamond from South African Cullinan kimberlite. The mineral is intergrown with about six per cent calcium titanate (CaTiO3). The titanium-rich composition of this inclusion indicates a bulk composition consistent with derivation from basaltic oceanic crust subducted to pressures equivalent to those present at the depths of the uppermost lower mantle. The relatively ‘heavy’ carbon isotopic composition of the surrounding diamond, together with the pristine high-pressure CaSiO3 structure, provides evidence for the recycling of oceanic crust and surficial carbon to lower-mantle depths.

Read more


Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Model of Collective Fish Behavior with Interations

Fish schooling is often modeled with self-propelled particles subject to phenomenological behavioral rules. Although fish are known to sense and exploit flow
features, these models usually neglect hydrodynamics. Here, we propose a novel model that couples behavioral rules with far-field hydrodynamic interactions.
We show that (1) a new “collective turning” phase emerges, (2) on average, individuals swim faster thanks to the fluid, and (3) the flow enhances behavioral noise.
The results of this model suggest that hydrodynamic effects should be considered to fully understand the collective dynamics of fish.

Read more


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

1/2 (e2/h) Conductance Plateau without 1D Chiral Majorana Fermions

We address the question about the origin of the  1/2(e2/h) conductance plateau observed in a recent experiment on an integer quantum Hall (IQH) film covered by a superconducting (SC) film. Since one-dimensional (1D) chiral Majorana fermions on the edge of the above device can give rise to the half quantized plateau, such a plateau is regarded as conclusive evidence for the chiral Majorana fermions. However, in this Letter we give another mechanism for the 1/2(e2/h) conductance plateau. We find the 1/2(e2/h) conductance plateau to be a general feature of a good electric contact between the IQH film and the SC film, and cannot distinguish the existence or the nonexistence of 1D chiral Majorana fermions. We also find that the contact conductance between a superconductor and an IQH edge channel has a non-Ohmic form σSCHallV2 in the kBTeV limit, if the SC and IQH bulks are fully gapped.

Read more


Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Unconventional Superconductivity in magic-angle Graphene Superlattices

The behaviour of strongly correlated materials, and in particular unconventional superconductors, has been studied extensively for decades, but is still not well understood. This lack of theoretical understanding has motivated the development of experimental techniques for studying such behaviour, such as using ultracold atom lattices to simulate quantum materials. Here we report the realization of intrinsic unconventional superconductivity—which cannot be explained by weak electron–phonon interactions—in a two-dimensional superlattice created by stacking two sheets of graphene that are twisted relative to each other by a small angle. For twist angles of about 1.1°—the first ‘magic’ angle—the electronic band structure of this ‘twisted bilayer graphene’ exhibits flat bands near zero Fermi energy, resulting in correlated insulating states at half-filling. Upon electrostatic doping of the material away from these correlated insulating states, we observe tunable zero-resistance states with a critical temperature of up to 1.7 kelvin. The temperature–carrier-density phase diagram of twisted bilayer graphene is similar to that of copper oxides (or cuprates), and includes dome-shaped regions that correspond to superconductivity. Moreover, quantum oscillations in the longitudinal resistance of the material indicate the presence of small Fermi surfaces near the correlated insulating states, in analogy with underdoped cuprates. The relatively high superconducting critical temperature of twisted bilayer graphene, given such a small Fermi surface (which corresponds to a carrier density of about 1011 per square centimetre), puts it among the superconductors with the strongest pairing strength between electrons. Twisted bilayer graphene is a precisely tunable, purely carbon-based, two-dimensional superconductor. It is therefore an ideal material for investigations of strongly correlated phenomena, which could lead to insights into the physics of high-critical-temperature superconductors and quantum spin liquids.

Read more

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Big Observation of Caronli-de Genner-Matricon Vortex States in YBa2Cu3O7−δ

The copper oxides present the highest superconducting temperature and properties at odds with other compounds, suggestive of a fundamentally different superconductivity. In particular, the Abrikosov vortices fail to exhibit localized states expected and observed in all clean superconductors. We have explored the possibility that the elusive vortex-core signatures are actually present but weak. Combining local tunneling measurements with large-scale theoretical modeling, we positively identify the vortex states in YBa2Cu3O7−δ. We explain their spectrum and the observed variations thereof from one vortex to the next by considering the effects of nearby vortices and disorder in the vortex lattice. We argue that the superconductivity of copper oxides is conventional, but the spectroscopic signature does not look so because the superconducting carriers are a minority.

Read more

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Bell correlations in a Bose-Einstein condensate

Characterizing many-body systems through the quantum correlations between their constituent particles is amajor goal of quantum physics. Although entanglement is routinely observed in many systems, we report here the detection of stronger correlations—Bell correlations—between the spins of about 480 atoms in a Bose-Einstein condensate.We derive a Bell correlation witness from a many-particle Bell inequality involving only one- and two-body correlation functions. Our measurement on a spin-squeezed state exceeds the threshold for Bell correlations by 3.8 standard deviations. Our work shows that the strongest possible nonclassical correlations are experimentally accessible in many-body systems and that they can be revealed by collective measurements.

read more

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Direct observation of multiple topological phases in the iron-based supercondutctor Li(Fe,Co)As

Topological insulators/semimetals and uncovencional iron-based superconductors have attracted major attentions in condensed matter physics in the past 10 years. However, there is little overlap between these two fields, although the combination of topological states and superconducting states will produce more exotic topologically superconducting states and Majorana bound states (MBS), a promising candidate for realizing topological quantum computations. With the progress in laser-based spin-resolved and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) with very high energy- and momentum-resolution, we directly resolved the topological insulator (TI) phase and topological Dirac semimetal (TDS) phase near Fermi level (EF) in the iron-based superconductor Li(Fe,Co)As. The TI and TDS phases can be separately tuned to EF by Co doping, allowing a detailed study of different superconducting topological states in the same material. Together with the topological states in Fe(Te,Se), our study shows the ubiquitous coexistence of superconductivity and multiple topological phases in iron-based superconductors, and opens a new age for the study of high-Tc iron-based superconductors and topological superconductivity. 

read more

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Stranski-Krastanov InAs/GaAsSb Quantum Dots Coupled With Sub-Monolayer Quantum Dot Stacks as a Promissing Absorber for Intermediate Band Solar Cells

The optical properties of the Stranski–Krastanov (S–K) grown InAs/GaAsSb quantum dots (QDs) coupled to sub-monolayer (SML) InAs QD stacks are investigated using photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy. The PL emission peak of the S–K QDs shifts to shorter wavelengths with increasing the number of SML stacks (NSML) due to the increasing strain fields from the SML QDs. The PL peak energy is linearly increased with increasing the cube root of excitation power, with a different ratio of the absorption coefficient to radiative recombination rate for all the QD samples. The total carrier lifetime for the S–K QDs is increased with increasing NSML, most probably caused by the increase in the ground-state transition energy of the S–K QDs. The nonmonotonic behavior of the thermal activation energy of electrons in the S–K QDs is observed due to the NSML-dependent variation of the strain and Coulombic interaction within the QDs.

read more


Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Observation of the Spin Nernst Effect

The observation of the spin Hall effect123 triggered intense research on pure spin current transport4. With the spin Hall effect1256, the spin Seebeck effect789 and the spin Peltier effect1011 already observed, our picture of pure spin current transport is almost complete. The only missing piece is the spin Nernst (–Ettingshausen) effect, which so far has been discussed only on theoretical grounds12131415. Here, we report the observation of the spin Nernst effect. By applying a longitudinal temperature gradient, we generate a pure transverse spin current in a Pt thin film. For readout, we exploit the magnetization-orientation-dependent spin transfer to an adjacent yttrium iron garnet layer, converting the spin Nernst current in Pt into a controlled change of the longitudinal and transverse thermopower voltage. Our experiments show that the spin Nernst and the spin Hall effect in Pt are of comparable magnitude, but differ in sign, as corroborated by first-principles calculations.

Read More

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Mossbauer Spectroscopy of Iron Carbides: From Prediction to Experimental Confirmation

The Mössbauer spectroscopy of iron carbides (α-Fe, γ'-FeC, η-Fe2C, ζ-Fe2C, χ-Fe5C2, h-Fe7C3, θ-Fe3C, o-Fe7C3, γ'-Fe4C, γ''-Fe4C, and α'-Fe16C2) is predicted utilizing the all electron full-potential linearized augmented plane wave (FLAPW) approach across various functionals from LDA to GGA (PBE,PBEsol, and GGA + U) to meta-GGA to hybrid functionals. To validate the predicted MES from different functionals, the single-phase χ-Fe5C2 and θ-Fe3C are synthesized in experiment and their experimental MES under different temperature (from 13 K to 298 K) are determined. The result indicates that the GGA functional (especially, the PBEsol) shows remarkable

success on the prediction of Mössbauer spectroscopy of α-Fe, χ-Fe5C2 and θ-Fe3C with delocalized d electrons. From the reliable simulations, we propose a linear relationship between Bhf and μB with a slope of 12.81 T/μB for iron carbide systems and that the proportionality constant may vary from structure to structure.

Read more


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Machine learning phases of matter

Abstract:Condensed-matter physics is the study of the collective behaviour of infinitely complex assemblies of electrons, nuclei, magnetic moments, atoms or qubits1. This complexity is reflected in the size of the state space, which grows exponentially with the number of particles, reminiscent of the ‘curse of dimensionality’ commonly encountered in machine learning2. Despite this curse, the machine learning community has developed techniques with remarkable abilities to recognize, classify, and characterize complex sets of data. Here, we show that modern machine learning architectures, such as fully connected and convolutional neural networks3, can identify phases and phase transitions in a variety of condensed-matter Hamiltonians. Readily programmable through modern software libraries4,5, neural networks can be trained to detect multiple types of order parameter, as well as highly non-trivial states with no conventional order, directly from raw state configurations sampled with Monte Carlo6,7.

Read more

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Effects of edge on graphene plasmons as reveled by infrared nonoimaging

We used scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy (s-SNOM) to investigate the plasmonic properties of edges in well-defined graphene nanostructures, including sharp tapers, nanoribbons and nanogaps, which were all fabricated via the growth-etching chemical vapor deposition (GECVD) method. The obtained near-field images revealed the localized plasmon modes along the graphene nanoribbon; these modes strongly depended on the size of the graphene pattern, the angle of the tapered graphene and the infrared excitation wavelength. These interesting plasmon modes were verified by numerical simulations and explained by the reflection, and interference of electromagnetic waves at the graphene–SiO2 edge. The constructive interference at the graphene nanogap caused by charge accumulation was demonstrated for the first time. Using the infrared nanoimaging technique, greater plasmon broadening was observed in the zigzag edge than in the armchair edge. Our study suggests that graphene edges should be separated by an effective working distance to avoid the overlapping of localized plasmon modes, which is very important for the design of graphene-based plasmonic circuits and devices.

Light: Science & Applications (2017) 6, e16204; doi:10.1038/lsa.2016.204; published online 10 February 2017

Keywords: edge chirality; graphene; graphene plasmon; nanoribbon; nanogap; near-field microscopy; s-SNOM

Read more


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Ultrafast Terahertz Control of Extreme Tunnel Currents Through Single Atoms on a Silicon Surface

Ultrafast control of current on the atomic scale is essential for future innovations in nanoelectronics. Extremely localized transient electric fields on the nanoscale can be achieved by coupling picosecond duration terahertz pulses to metallic nanostructures. Here, we demonstrate terahertz scanning tunnelling microscopy (THz-STM) in ultrahigh vacuum as a new platform for exploring ultrafast non-equilibrium tunnelling dynamics with atomic precision. Extreme terahertz-pulse-driven tunnel currents up to 107 times larger than steady-state currents in conventional STM are used to image individual atoms on a silicon surface with 0.3nm spatial resolution. At terahertz frequencies, the metallic-like Si(111)-(7 7) surface is unable to screen the electric field from the bulk, resulting in a terahertz tunnel conductance that is fundamentally di erent than that of the steady state. Ultrafast terahertz-induced band bending and non-equilibrium charging of surface states opens new conduction pathways to the bulk, enabling extreme transient tunnel currents to flow between the tip and sample.

Read more


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Stretchable Persistent Spin Helices in GaAs Quantum Wells

The Rashba and Dresselhaus spin-orbit (SO) interactions in 2D electron gases act as effective magnetic fields with momentum-dependent directions, which cause spin decay as the spins undergo arbitrary precessions about these randomly-oriented SO fields due to momentum scattering. Theoretically and experimentally, it has been established that by fine-tuning the Rashba α and Dresselhaus β couplings to equal fixed strengths α = β, the total SO field becomes unidirectional thus rendering the electron spins immune to dephasing due to momentum scattering. A robust persistent spin helix (PSH), i.e., a helical spin-density wave excitation with constant pitch P = 2π/Q, Q = 4mα/¯ h2, has already been experimentally realized at this singular point α = β. Here we employ the suppression of weak antilocalization as a sensitive detector for matched SO fields together with a technique that allows for independent electrical control over the SO couplings via top gate voltage VT and back gate voltage VB, to extract all SO couplings as functions of VT and VB when combined with detailed numerical simulations. We demonstrate for the first time the gate control of β and the continuous locking of the SO fields at α = β, i.e., we are able to vary both α and β controllably and continuously with VT and VB, while keeping them locked at equal strengths. This makes possible a new concept: “stretchable PSHs”, i.e., helical spin patterns with continuously variable pitches P over a wide parameter range. This further protects spins from decay when electrically controlling the spin precession. We also quantify the detrimental effect of the cubic Dresselhaus term, which breaks the unidirectionality of the total SO field and causes spin decay at higher electron densities. The extracted spin-diffusion lengths and decay times as a function of α/β show a significant enhancement near α/β = 1. Since within the continuous-locking regime quantum transport is diffusive (2D) for charge while ballistic (1D) for spin and thus amenable to coherent spin control, stretchable PSHs could provide the platform for the much heralded long-distance communication ∼ 8−25 µm between solid-state spin qubits, where the spin diffusion length for α 6= β is an order of magnitude smaller.

Read more

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Assessing Carbon Anodes for Lithium-Ion Batteries: A Universal Description of Changes Binding

Many key performance characteristics of carbon-based lithium-ion battery anodes are largely determined by the strength of binding between lithium (Li) and sp 2 carbon (C), which can vary significantly with subtle changes in substrate structure, chemistry, and morphology. Here, we use density functional theory calculations to investigate the interactions of Li with a wide variety of sp 2 C substrates, including pristine, defective, and strained graphene, planar C clusters, nanotubes, C edges, and multilayer stacks. In almost
all cases, we find a universal linear relation between the Li-C binding energy and the work required to fill previously unoccupied electronic states within the substrate. This suggests that Li capacity is predominantly determined by two key factors—namely, intrinsic quantum capacitance limitations and the absolute placement of the Fermi level. This simple descriptor allows for straightforward prediction of the Li-C binding energy and related battery characteristics in candidate C materials based solely on the substrate
electronic structure. It further suggests specific guidelines for designing more effective C-based anodes. The method should be broadly applicable to charge-transfer adsorption on planar substrates, and provides a phenomenological connection to established principles in supercapacitor and catalyst design.

Read more

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wettability Effect on Nanoconfined Water Flow

Understanding and controlling the flow of water confined in nanopores has tremendous implications in theoretical studies and industrial applications. Here, we propose a simple model for the confined water flow based on the concept of effective slip, which is a linear sum of true slip, depending on a contact angle, and apparent slip, caused by a spatial variation of the confined water viscosity as a function of wettability as well as the nanopore dimension. Results from this model show that the flow capacity of confined water is 10-1∼107times that calculated by the no-slip Hagen–Poiseuille equation for nanopores with various contact angles and dimensions, in agreement with the majority of 53 different study cases from the literature. This work further sheds light on a controversy over an increase or decrease in flow capacity from molecular dynamics simulations and experiments.

Read more

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Electron-Ion Interation:Dielectric Screening and Non-Adiabatic Dynamic in Materials

High-performance computing enables quantum-mechanical studies of material properties with unprecedented accuracy: Many-body perturbation theory is now capable of predicting electronic and optical properties in excellent agreement with experiment. Real-time time-dependent density functional theory is an accurate yet efficient approach to investigate electrons interacting with fast-moving ions. In this talk I will provide insight into how these approaches can be used to study the impact of dielectric screening contributions due to free carriers and lattice polarizability on optical and excitonic properties of oxide and perovskite semiconductors. These materials have exciting optoelectronic and photovoltaic applications, which justifies that large interest in their optical properties. It will be quantified how screening due to free carriers and lattice polarizability reduces excitonic effects, tremendously changing the shape of the optical absorption spectrum and reducing exciton binding. I will also show how time-dependent density functional theory quantitatively describes non-adiabatic dynamics of electrons and ions for solid materials that are subject to particle radiation.

Read more

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

All-carbon-based Porus Topological Semimetal for Li-ion Battery Anode Material

Topological state of matter and lithium batteries are currently two hot topics in science and technology. Here we combine these two by exploring the possibility of using all-carbon-based porous topological semimetal for lithium battery anode material. Based on density-functional theory and the cluster-expansion method, we find that the recently identified topological semimetal bco-C16 is a promising anode material with higher specific capacity (Li-C4) than that of the commonly used graphite anode (Li-C6), and Li ions in bco-C16 exhibit a remarkable one-dimensional (1D) migration feature, and the ion diffusion channels are robust against the compressive and tensile strains during charging/discharging. Moreover, the energy barrier decreases with increasing Li insertion and can reach 0.019 eV at high Li ion concentration; the average voltage is as low as 0.23 V, and the volume change during the operation is comparable to that of graphite. These intriguing theoretical findings would stimulate experimental work on topological carbon materials.

Read more

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

First Order Reversal Curves and Intrinsic Parameter Determintion for Magnetic Materials; Limitations of Hysteron-based Apporoaches in Correlayed Sytems.

The generic problem of extracting information on intrinsic particle properties from the whole class of interacting magnetic fine particle systems is a long standing and difficult inverse problem. As an example, the Switching Field Distribution (SFD) is an important quantity in the characterization of magnetic systems, and its determination in many technological applications, such as recording media, is especially challenging. Techniques such as the first order reversal curve (FORC) methods, were developed to extract the SFD from macroscopic measurements. However, all methods rely on separating the contributions to the measurements of the intrinsic SFD and the extrinsic effects of magnetostatic and exchange interactions. We investigate the underlying physics of the FORC method by applying it to the output predictions of a kinetic Monte-Carlo model with known input parameters. We show that the FORC method is valid only in cases of weak spatial correlation of the magnetisation and suggest a more general approach.

Read more

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Controlled Finite Momentum Pairing and Spatially Varing Order Parameter in Proximitized  HgTe Quantum Wells

Conventional s-wave superconductivity arises from singlet pairing of electrons with opposite Fermi momenta, forming Cooper pairs with zero net momentum. Recent studies have focused on coupling s-wave superconductors to systems with an unusual configuration of electronic spin and momentum at the Fermi surface, where the nature of the paired state can be modified and the system may even undergo a topological phase transition. Here we present measurements and theoretical calculations of HgTe quantum wells coupled to aluminium or niobium superconductors and subject to a magnetic field in the plane of the quantum well. We find that this magnetic field tunes the momentum of Cooper pairs in the quantum well, directly reflecting the response of the spin-dependent Fermi surfaces. In the high electron density regime, the induced superconductivity evolves with electron density in agreement with our model based on the Hamiltonian of Bernevig, Hughes and Zhang. This agreement provides a !
 quantitative value for g_Q=vF, where g_Q is the effective g-factor and vF is the Fermi velocity. Our new understanding of the interplay between spin physics and superconductivity introduces a way to spatially engineer the order parameter from singlet to triplet pairing, and in general allows investigation of electronic spin texture at the Fermi surface of materials.

Read more


Tuesday, March 29, 2017

Continuous Excitations of the Triangular-Lattice Quantum Spin Liquid YbMgGaO4

A quantum spin liquid (QSL) is an exotic state of matter in which electrons’ spins are quantum entangled over long distances, but do not show magnetic order in the zero-temperature limit1. The observation of QSL states is a central aim of experimental physics, because they host collective excitations that transcend our knowledge of quantum matter; however, examples in real materials are scarce2. Here, we report neutron-scattering experiments on YbMgGaO4, a QSL candidate in which Yb3+ ions with effective spin-1/2 occupy a triangular lattice3456. Our measurements reveal a continuum of magnetic excitations—the essential experimental hallmark of a QSL7—at very low temperature (0.06 K). The origin of this peculiar excitation spectrum is a crucial question, because isotropic nearest-neighbour interactions do not yield a QSL ground state on the triangular lattice8. Using measurements in the field-polarized state, we identify antiferromagnetic next-nearest-neighbour interactions9101112, spin-space anisotropies4101314, and chemical disorder15 between the magnetic layers as key ingredients in YbMgGaO4.

Read More


Tuesday, March 22, 2017

Magnetocaloric Properties of Fe-Ni-Cr Nanoparticles for Active Cooling

The formation of soap bubbles from thin films is accompanied by topological transitions. Here we show how a magnetic topological structure, a skyrmion bubble, can be generated in a solid-state system in a similar manner. Using an inhomogeneous in-plane current in a system with broken inversion symmetry, we experimentally “blow” magnetic skyrmion bubbles from a geometrical constriction. The presence of a spatially divergent spin-orbit torque gives rise to instabilities of the magnetic domain structures that are reminiscent of Rayleigh-Plateau instabilities in fluid flows. We determine a phase diagram for skyrmion formation and reveal the efficient manipulation of these dynamically created skyrmions, including depinning and motion. The demonstrated current-driven transformation from stripe domains to magnetic skyrmion bubbles could lead to progress in skyrmion-based spintronics.

Reade more


Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Magnetocaloric Properties of Fe-Ni-Cr Nanoparticles for Active Cooling

Low cost, earth abundant, rare earth free magnetocaloric nanoparticles have attracted an enormous amount of attention for green, energy efficient, active near room temperature thermal management. Hence, we investigated the magnetocaloric properties of transition metal based (Fe70Ni30)100−xCrx(x = 1, 3, 5, 6 and 7) nanoparticles. The influence of Cr additions on the Curie temperature (Tc) was studied. Only 5% of Cr can reduce the Tc from ~438 K to 258 K. These alloys exhibit broad entropy v/s temperature curves, which is useful to enhance relative cooling power (RCP). For a field change of 5T,the RCP for (Fe70Ni30)99Cr1 nanoparticles was found to be 548 J-kg−1. Tunable Tc in broad range, good RCP, low cost, high corrosion resistance and earth abundance make these nanoparticles suitable for low-grade waste heat recovery as well as near room temperature active cooling applications.

Read More


Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Mössbauer Spectroscopy of Iron Carbides: From Prediction to ExperimentalConfirmation

The Mössbauer spectroscopy of iron carbides (α-Fe, γ'-FeC, η-Fe2C, ζ-Fe2C, χ-Fe5C2, h-Fe7C3, θ-Fe3C, o-Fe7C3, γ'-Fe4C, γ''-Fe4C, and α'-Fe16C2)  is predicted utilizing the all electron full-potential linearized augmented plane wave (FLAPW) approach across various functionals from LDA to GGA (PBE, PBEsol, and GGA + U) to meta-GGA to hybrid functionals. To validate the predicted MES from different functionals, the single-phase χ-Fe5C2 and     θ-Fe3C are synthesized in experiment and their experimental MES under different temperature (from 13 K to 298 K) are determined. The result indicates that the GGA functional (especially, the PBEsol) shows remarkable success on the prediction of Mössbauer spectroscopy of α-Fe, χ-Fe5C2 and θ-Fe3C with delocalized d electrons. From the reliable simulations, we propose a linear relationship between Bhf and μB with a slope of 12.81T/μB for iron carbide systems and that the proportionality constant may structure to structure.

Read more

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Emergent Nanoscale Superparamagnetism at Oxide Interfaces

Atomically sharp oxide heterostructures exhibit a range of novel physical phenomena that do not occur in the parent bulk compounds. The most prominent example is the appearance of highly conducting and superconducting states at the interface between the band insulators LaAlO3 and SrTiO3. Here we report a new emergent phenomenon at the LaMnO3/SrTiO3 interface in which an antiferromagnetic insulator abruptly transforms into a magnetic state that exhibits unexpected nanoscale superparamagnetic dynamics. Upon increasing the thickness of LaMnO3 above five unit cells, our scanning nanoSQUID-on-tip microscopy shows spontaneous formation of isolated magnetic islands of 10 to 50 nm diameter, which display random moment reversals by thermal activation or in response to an in-plane magnetic field. Our charge reconstruction model of the polar LaMnO3/SrTiO3 heterostructure describes the sharp emergence of thermodynamic phase separation leading to nucleation of metallic ferromagnetic islands in an insulating antiferromagnetic matrix. The model further suggests that the nearby superparamagnetic-ferromagnetic transition can be gate tuned, holding potential for applications in magnetic storage and spintronics.

Read More


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

All-Electron Many-Body Approach to X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy

Christian Vorwerk, Caterina Cocchi, and Claudia Draxl.

We present an all-electron approach of the many-body perturbation theory to describe x-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (XANES) in solid-state materials. In this formalism, the electron-hole interaction is explicitly included by solving the Bethe-Salpeter equation.
A fully relativistic description of core states, as implemented in the all-electron full-potential code eXciting, enables the explicit treatment of the effects of spin-orbit coupling in the spectra.
We investigate the XANES for prototypical systems, such as TiO2 and CaO, considering excitations from different absorption edges. Our results, in good agreement with experiments, allow us to gain insight into the nature of the core-level excitations of these materials.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Beating the Stoner criterion using molecular interfaces

Only three elements are ferromagnetic at room temperature: the transition metals iron, cobalt and nickel. The Stoner criterion explains why iron is ferromagnetic but manganese, for example, is not, even though both elements have an unfilled 3d shell and are adjacent in the periodic table: according to this criterion, the product of the density of states and the exchange integral must be greater than unity for spontaneous spin ordering to emerge. Here we demonstrate that it is possible to alter the electronic states of non-ferromagnetic materials, such as diamagnetic copper and paramagnetic manganese, to overcome the Stoner criterion and make them ferromagnetic at room temperature. This effect is achieved via interfaces between metallic thin films and C60 molecular layers. The emergent ferromagnetic state exists over several layers of the metal before being quenched at large sample thicknesses by the material’s bulk properties. Although the induced magnetization is easily measurable by magnetometry, low-energy muon spin spectroscopy provides insight into its distribution by studying the depolarization process of low-energy muons implanted in the sample. This technique indicates localized spin-ordered states at, and close to, the metal–molecule interface. Density functional theory simulations suggest a mechanism based on magnetic hardening of the metal atoms, owing to electron transfer. This mechanism might allow for the exploitation of molecular coupling to design magnetic metamaterials using abundant, non-toxic components such as organic semiconductors. Charge transfer at molecular interfaces may thus be used to control spin polarization or magnetization, with consequences for the design of devices for electronic, power or computing applications.

Read More


Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Switching of both local ferroelectric and magnetic domains in multiferroic bi0.9la0.1feo3 thin film by mechanical force

Cross-coupling of ordering parameters in multiferroic materials by multiple
external stimuli other than electric field and magnetic field is highly
desirable from both practical application and fundamental study points of
view. Recently, mechanical force has attracted great attention in switching
of ferroic ordering parameters via electro-elastic coupling in
ferroelectric materials. In this work, mechanical force induced both
polarization and magnetization switching were visualized in a
polycrystalline multiferroic Bi0.9La0.1FeO3 thin film using a scanning
probe microscopy system. The piezoresponse force microscopy and magnetic force microscopy responses suggest that both the ferroelectric domains and the magnetic domains in Bi0.9La0.1FeO3 film could be switched by mechanical force as well as by electric field. High tip stress applied on our thin film is demonstrated as able to induce ferroelastic switching and thus induce both ferroelectric dipole and magnetic spin flipping, as a consequence of electro-elastic coupling and magneto-electric coupling. The demonstration of mechanical force control of both the ferroelectric and the magnetic domains at room temperature provides a new freedom for manipulation of multiferroics and could result in devices with novel functionalities.

Read More


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tuning the van der Waals Interaction of Graphene with Molecules via Doping

We use scanning tunneling microscopy to visualize and thermal desorption spectroscopy to quantitatively measure that the binding of naphthalene molecules to graphene, a case of pure van der Waals interaction, strengthens with n and weakens with p doping of graphene. Density-functional theory calculations that include the van derWaals interaction in a seamless, ab initio way accurately reproduce the observed trend in binding energies. Based on a model calculation, we propose that the van der Waals interaction is modified by changing the spatial extent of graphene’s π orbitals via doping.

Read more


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Domain-wall Velocities of up to 750 m s−1 driven by Exchange-coupling Torque in Synthetic Antiferromagnets

The operation of racetrack memories123 is based on the motion of domain walls in atomically thin, perpendicularly magnetized nanowires, which are interfaced with adjacent metal layers with high spin–orbit coupling. Such domain walls have a chiral Néel structure4567 and can be moved efficiently by electrical currents56. High-capacity racetrack memory requires closely packed domain walls, but their density is limited by dipolar coupling from their fringing magnetic fields3. These fields can be eliminated using a synthetic antiferromagnetic structure composed of two magnetic sub-layers, exchange-coupled via an ultrathin antiferromagnetic-coupling spacer layer8. Here, we show that nanosecond-long current pulses can move domain walls in synthetic antiferromagnetic racetracks that have almost zero net magnetization. The domain walls can be moved even more efficiently and at much higher speeds (up to ∼750 m s−1) compared with similar racetracks in which the sub-layers are coupled ferromagnetically. This is due to a stabilization of the Néel domain wall structure, and an exchange coupling torque that is directly proportional to the strength of the antiferromagnetic exchange coupling between the two sub-layers. Moreover, the dependence of the wall velocity on the magnetic field applied along the nanowire is distinct from that of the single-layer racetrack due to the exchange coupling torque. The high domain wall velocities in racetracks that have no net magnetization allow for densely packed yet highly efficient domain-wall-based spintronics.

Read more


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Quantum Phases from Competing Short- and Long- Range Interactions in an Optical Lattice

Insights into complex phenomena in quantum matter can be gained from simulation experiments with ultracold atoms, especially in cases where theoretical characterization is challenging. However these experiments are mostly limited to short-range collisional interactions. Recently observed perturbative effects of long-range interactions were too weak to reach novel quantum phases. Here we experimentally realize a bosonic lattice model with competing short- and infinite-range interactions, and observe the appearance of four distinct phases - a superfluid, a supersolid, a Mott insulator and a charge density wave. Our system is based on an atomic quantum gas trapped in an optical lattice inside a high finesse optical cavity. The strength of the short-ranged on-site interactions is controlled by means of the optical lattice depth. The infinite-range interaction potential is mediated by a vacuum mode of the cavity and is independently controlled by tuning the cavity resonance. When probing the phase transition between the Mott insulator and the charge density wave in real-time, we discovered a behaviour characteristic of a first order phase transition. Our measurements have accessed a regime for quantum simulation of many-body systems, where the physics is determined by the intricate competition between two different types of interactions and the zero point motion of the particles.

Read more


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Exploiting the Colloidal Nanocrystal Library to Construct Electronic Devices

Synthetic methods produce libraries of colloidal nanocrystals with tunable physical properties by tailoring the nanocrystal size, shape, and composition. Here, we exploit colloidal nanocrystal diversity and design the materials, interfaces, and processes to construct all-nanocrystal electronic devices using solution-based processes. Metallic silver and semiconducting cadmium selenide nanocrystals are deposited to form high-conductivity and high-mobility thin-film electrodes and channel layers of field-effect transistors. Insulating aluminum oxide nanocrystals are assembled layer by layer with polyelectrolytes to form high–dielectric constant gate insulator layers for low-voltage device operation. Metallic indium nanocrystals are codispersed with silver nanocrystals to integrate an indium supply in the deposited electrodes that serves to passivate and dope the cadmium selenide nanocrystal channel layer. We fabricate all-nanocrystal field-effect transistors on flexible plastics with electron mobilities of 21.7 square centimeters per volt-second.

Read More

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Klein Tunnelling and Electron Trapping in Nanometre-Scale Graphene Quantum Dots

Relativistic fermions that are incident on a high potential barrier can pass through unimped, a striking phenomenon termed the "Klein paradox" in quantum eletrodynamics. 

Electrostatic potential barriers in graphene provide a solid-state analogue to realize this phenomenon. Here, we use scanning tunnelling microscopy to directly probe the transmission of electrons through sharp circular potential wells in graphene created by substrate engineering. We find that electrons in this geometry display quasi-bound states where the electron is trapped for a finite time before escaping via Klein tunnelling. We show that the continuum Dirac equation can be successfully used to model the energies and wavefunctions of these quasi-bound states down to atomic dimensions. We demonstrate that by tuning the geometry of the barrier it is possible to trap particular energies and angular momentum states with increased efficiency, showing that atomic-scale electrostatic potentials can be used to engineer quantum transport through graphene

Read more


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Scalable Water Spliting on Particulate Photocatalyst Sheets With a Solar-to Hydrogen Energy Conversion Efficiency Exceeding 1%

Photocatalytic water splitting using particulate semiconductors is a potentially scalable and economically feasible technology for converting solar energy into hydrogen. Z-scheme systems based on two-step photoexcitation of a hydrogen evolution photocatalyst (HEP) and an oxygen evolution photocatalyst (OEP) are suited to harvesting of sunlight because semiconductors with either water reduction or oxidation activity can be applied to the water splitting reaction. However, it is challenging to achieve efficient transfer of electrons between HEP and OEP particles. Here, we present photocatalyst sheets based on La- and Rh-codoped SrTiO3 (SrTiO3:La,Rh ) and Mo-doped BiVO4 (BiVO4:Mo) powders embedded into a gold (Au) layer. Enhancement of the electron relay by annealing and suppression of undesirable reactions through surface modification allow pure water (pH 6.8) splitting with a solar-to-hydrogen energy conversion efficiency of 1.1% and an apparent quantum yield of over 30% at 419 nm. The photocatalyst sheet design enables efficient and scalable water splitting using particulate semiconductors.

Read more


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Alginate/Magnetite Hybrid Beads for Magnetically Stimulated Release of Dopamine

Hybrid beads composed of magnetite nanoparticles (MNP) and alginate (Alg) were synthesized and coded as Alg-MNP. They were incubated in dopamine (DOPA) solution (5 g/L), at pH 7.4 and 8 °C, during 12 h, promoting the DOPA loaded magnetic beads, coded as Alg-MNP/DOPA. The release of DOPA was further evaluated in the absence and the presence of external magnetic field (EMF) of 0.4 T. The products Alg-MNP and Alg-MNP/DOPA were characterized by scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), Fourier transform infrared vibrational spectroscopy (FTIR), UV spectrophotometry, thermogravimetric analyses (TGA), inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) analyses and superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetometer. The magnetic and chemical properties of Alg-MNP beads were not affected by DOPA loading. The incorporation of DOPA into the beads depended on the pH and on the negative charge density. At pH 7.4 38% of DOPA were loaded into Alg-MNP beads, whereas at pH 2 or using neat Alg beads (lower charge density than Alg-MNP) the loading efficiency decreased to one third or less. In the absence of EMF, 24% of the loaded DOPA was released from Alg-MNP at pH 7.4 over a period of 26 h. The released amount increased to 33% under the stimulus of EMF. A model was proposed to explain the loading efficiency of charged drugs, as DOPA, into hybrid beads and the role played by EMF on delivery systems, where drug and matrix are oppositely charged. The results suggest that the alginate combined with magnetite nanoparticles is a promising system for release of DOPA in the presence of EMF.

Read more


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Long-range and high-speed electronic spin-transport as a GaAs/AlGaAs semiconductor interface 

Spin-valves or spin-transistors in magnetic memories and logic elements are examples of structures whose functionality depends crucially on the length and time-scales at which spin-information is transferred through the device. In our work we employ spatially resolved optical pump-and-probe technique to investigate these fundamental spin-transport parameters in a model semiconductor system. We demonstrate that in an undoped GaAs/AlGaAs layer, spins are detected at distances reaching more than ten microns at times as short as nanoseconds. We have achieved this unprecedented combination of long-range and high-speed electronic spin-transport by simultaneously suppressing mechanisms that limit the spin life-time and the mobility of carriers. By exploring a series of structures we demonstrate that the GaAs/AlGaAs interface can provide superior spin-transport characteristics whether deposited directly on the substrate or embedded in complex semiconductor heterostructures. We confirm our conclusions by complementing the optical experiments with dc and terahertz photo-conductivity measurements.

Read More


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Shear Deformation of Bridgmanite and Magnesiowüstite Aggregates at Lower Mantle Conditions

Rheological properties of the lower mantle have strong influence on the dynamics and evolution of Earth. By using the improved methods of quantitative deformation experiments at high pressures and temperatures, we deformed a mixture of bridgmanite and magnesiowüstite under the shallow lower mantle conditions.We conducted experiments up to about 100% strain at a strain rate of about 3×10−5 second−1. We found that bridgmanite is substantially stronger than magnesiowüstite and that magnesiowüstite largely accommodates the strain. Our results suggest that strain weakening and resultant shear localization likely occur in the lower mantle. This would explain the preservation of long-lived geochemical reservoirs and the lack of seismic anisotropy in the majority of the lower mantle except the boundary layers.

Read More


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tailoring the Chiral Magnetic Interaction Between Two Individual Atoms

Chiral magnets are a promising route towards dense magnetic storage technology due to their inherent nano-scale dimensions and energy efficient properties. Engineering chiral magnets requires atomic-level control of the magnetic exchange interactions, including the Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction, which defines a rotational sense for the magnetization of two coupled magnetic moments. Here we show that the indirect conduction electron-mediated Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction between two individual magnetic atoms on a metallic surface can be manipulated by changing the interatomic distance with the tip of a scanning tunnelling microscope. We quantify this interaction by comparing our measurements to a quantum magnetic model and ab-initiocalculations yielding a map of the chiral ground states of pairs of atoms depending on the interatomic separation. The map enables tailoring the chirality of the magnetization in dilute atomic-scale magnets

Read More