Physics - Materials Science Publications (50)

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Physics - Materials Science Publications

Many amorphous materials show spatially heterogenous dynamics, as different regions of the same system relax at different rates. Such a signature, known as Dynamic Heterogeneity, has been crucial to understand the jamming transition in simple model systems and, currently, is considered very promising to characterize more complex fluids of industrial and biological relevance. Unfortunately, measurements of dynamic heterogeneities typically require sophysticated experimental set-ups and are performed by few specialized groups. Read More


Implementation of antiferromagnetic compounds as active elements in spintronics has been hindered by their insensitive nature against external perturbations which causes difficulties in switching among different antiferromagnetic spin configurations. Electrically-controllable strain gradient can become a key parameter to tune the antiferromagnetic states of multiferroic materials. We have discovered a correlation between an electrically-written straight-stripe mixed-phase boundary and an in-plane antiferromagnetic spin axis in highly-elongated La-5%-doped BiFeO$_{3}$ thin films by performing polarization-dependent photoemission electron microscopy in conjunction with cluster model calculations. Read More


After a short review of microscopic electrodynamics in materials, we investigate the relation of the microscopic dielectric tensor to the current response tensor and to the full electromagnetic Green function. Subsequently, we give a systematic overview of microscopic electromagnetic wave equations in materials, which can be formulated in terms of the microscopic dielectric tensor. Read More


2017Apr
Affiliations: 1Institut NEEL, 2TU Darmstadt, 3Institut NEEL, 4Synchrotron SOLEIL, 5Synchrotron SOLEIL, 6Elettra - Sincrotrone Trieste, 7Elettra - Sincrotrone Trieste, 8Elettra - Sincrotrone Trieste, 9Institut NEEL, 10Institut NEEL, 11FAU Erlangen, 12Institut NEEL, 13Spintec, 14Institut NEEL, 15TU Darmstadt, 16Institut NEEL

We report the fabrication and magnetic imaging of high-aspect ratio CoNiB nanotubes. With XMCD-PEEM we evidence multiple magnetic domains and domain walls in these nanotubes. Surprisingly, magnetization in the domains is orthoradial (azimuthal, vortex-like), a situation not anticipated by theory for long nanotubes. Read More


Molybdenum ditelluride (MoTe$_2$) has attracted considerable interest for nanoelectronic, optoelectronic, spintronic, and valleytronic applications because of its modest band gap, high field-effect mobility, large spin-orbit-coupling splitting, and tunable 1T'/2H phases. However, synthesizing large-area, high-quality MoTe$_2$ remains challenging. The complicated design of gas-phase reactant transport and reaction for chemical vapor deposition or tellurization is nontrivial because of the weak bonding energy between Mo and Te. Read More


Metal--organic frameworks are a novel family of chemically diverse materials, with applications in a wide field covering engineering, physics, chemistry, biology and medicine. Research so far has focused almost entirely on crystalline structures, yet a clear trend has emerged shifting the emphasis onto disordered states of MOFs, including "defective by design" crystals, as well as amorphous phases such as glasses and gels. Here we introduce a MOF liquid, a strongly associated liquid obtained by melting a zeolitic imidazolate framework (ZIF), with retention of chemical configuration, coordinative bonding modes, and porosity of the parent crystalline framework. Read More


Interfaces between complex oxides constitute a unique playground for 2D electron systems (2DES), where superconductivity and magnetism can arise from combinations of bulk insulators. The 2DES at the LaAlO3/SrTiO3 interface is one of the most studied in this regard, and its origin is determined by both the presence of a polar field in LaAlO3 and the insurgence of point defects, such as oxygen vacancies and intermixed cations. These defects usually reside in the conduction channel and are responsible for a decreased electronic mobility. Read More


In the 80th anniversary book for Alex M\"uller I wrote a story of our scientific collaboration, Shared Fascinations. This time I will be more personal, about the human side of our collaboration and encounters, while also referring to episodes mentioned in Shared Fascinations. Read More


Since its proposal by Anderson, resonating valence bonds (RVB) formed by a superposition of fluctuating singlet pairs have been a paradigmatic concept in understanding quantum spin liquids (QSL). Here, we show that excitations related to singlet breaking on nearest-neighbor bonds describe the high-energy part of the excitation spectrum in YbMgGaO4, the effective spin-1/2 frustrated antiferromagnet on the triangular lattice, as originally considered by Anderson. By a thorough single-crystal inelastic neutron scattering (INS) study, we demonstrate that nearest-neighbor RVB excitations account for the bulk of the spectral weight above 0. Read More


Atomic metallic hydrogen with a lattice with FDDD symmetry is shown to have a stable phase under hydrostatic compression in the range of pressure 350 - 500 GPa. Read More


To explore material dependence of layered cuprate superconductors, we examine effective two-particle interactions for Hg1201 and Tl1201, where Tl1201 having a nearly half value of Tc of Hg1201 even at the optimal oxygen concentration. Although the 3dx_2-y_2 band, the Fermi surface, and its Wannier-orbitals are similar for these superconductors, there is an apparent difference in the unoccupied levels above EF. Based on a multi-reference density-functional-theory formulation, effective two-particle exchange interactions are estimated to derive enhancement in intra-layer exchange interactions for HgBa2CuO4, while it is weakened in TlBaLaCuO5 and furthermore it is weak in TlBa2CuO5. Read More


Accurate simulations of atomistic systems from first principles are limited by computational cost. In high-throughput settings, machine learning can potentially reduce these costs significantly by accurately interpolating between reference calculations. For this, kernel learning approaches crucially require a single Hilbert space accommodating any atomistic system. Read More


Some key results obtained in joint research projects with Alex M\"uller are summarized, concentrating on the invention of the barocaloric effect and its application for cooling as well as on important findings in the field of high-temperature superconductivity resulting from neutron scattering experiments. Read More


2017Apr
Affiliations: 1Department of Physics, Regensburg University, 2Department of Physics, Regensburg University, 3Department of Physics, Regensburg University, 4Department of Physics, Regensburg University, 5Department of Physics, Regensburg University, 6Department of Physics, Regensburg University, 7Key Laboratory of Advanced Materials, 8Key Laboratory of Advanced Materials, 9Department of Physics, Regensburg University

We report the experimental observation of spin-orbit torque induced switching of perpendicularly magnetized Pt/Co elements in a time resolved stroboscopic experiment based on high resolution Kerr microscopy. Magnetization dynamics is induced by injecting sub-nanosecond current pulses into the bilayer while simultaneously applying static in-plane magnetic bias fields. Highly reproducible homogeneous switching on time scales of several tens of nanoseconds is observed. Read More


We classify all possible gap-closing procedures which can be achieved in two-dimensional time-reversal invariant noncentrosymmetric systems. For exhaustive classification, we examine the space group symmetries of all 49 layer groups lacking inversion taking into account spin-orbit coupling. Although a direct transition between two insulators is generally predicted to occur when a band crossing happens at a general point in the Brillouin zone, we find that a variety of stable semimetal phases with point or line nodes can also arise due to the band crossing in the presence of additional crystalline symmetries. Read More


X-ray absorption spectroscopy was used to determine the valence state in La$_2$Co$_{1-x}$Mn$_{1+x}$O$_6$ ($x\approx 0.23$) thin films. We found that in spite of the non-stoichiometry, Co is in a divalent state while Mn ions show a mixed valence state. Read More


Current-induced spin-orbit torques (SOTs) represent one of the most effective ways to manipulate the magnetization in spintronic devices. The orthogonal torque-magnetization geometry, the strong damping, and the large domain wall velocities inherent to materials with strong spin-orbit coupling make SOTs especially appealing for fast switching applications in nonvolatile memory and logic units. So far, however, the timescale and evolution of the magnetization during the switching process have remained undetected. Read More


A novel crystal configuration of sandwiched S-Mo-Se structure (Janus SMoSe) at the monolayer limit has been synthesized and carefully characterized in this work. By controlled sulfurization of monolayer MoSe2 the top layer of selenium atoms are substituted by sulfur atoms while the bottom selenium layer remains intact. The peculiar structure of this new material is systematically investigated by Raman, photoluminescence and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and confirmed by transmission-electron microscopy and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry. Read More


Surface-assisted polymerization of molecular monomers into extended chains can be used as the seed of graphene nanoribbon (GNR) formation, resulting from a subsequent cyclo-dehydrogenation process. By means of valence-band photoemission and ab-initio density-functional theory (DFT) calculations, we investigate the evolution of molecular states from monomer 10,10'-dibromo-9,9'bianthracene (DBBA) precursors to polyanthryl polymers, and eventually to GNRs, as driven by the Au(110) surface. The molecular orbitals and the energy level alignment at the metal-organic interface are studied in depth for the DBBA precursors deposited at room temperature. Read More


Transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) are emerging as promising two-dimensional (2d) semiconductors for optoelectronic and flexible devices. However, a microscopic explanation of their photophysics -- of pivotal importance for the understanding and optimization of device operation -- is still lacking. Here we use femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy, with pump pulse tunability and broadband probing, to monitor the relaxation dynamics of single-layer MoS2 over the entire visible range, upon photoexcitation of different excitonic transitions. Read More


A magnetic helix arises in chiral magnets with a wavelength set by the spin-orbit coupling. We show that the helimagnetic order is a nanoscale analog to liquid crystals, exhibiting topological structures and domain walls that are distinctly different from classical magnets. Using magnetic force microscopy and micromagnetic simulations, we demonstrate that - similar to cholesteric liquid crystals - three fundamental types of domain walls are realized in the helimagnet FeGe. Read More


An extensive theoretical study is performed on polymorphs of wide-gap nitrides and silicon-carbides. This work constitutes a comprehensive improved account of electronic-structure properties of these important insulating nitrides obtained via density functional theory within a local density approximation (LDA) that enforces the exact exchange-hole asymptotic behavior via van Leeuwen and Baerends (LB) correction. The agreement with experimentally measured gaps are found to be greatly improved. Read More


We use high resolution angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) and electronic structure calculations to study the electronic properties of rare-earth monoantimonides RSb (R = Y, Ce, Gd, Dy, Ho, Tm, Lu). The experimentally measured Fermi surface (FS) of RSb consists of at least two concentric hole pockets at the $\Gamma$ point and two intersecting electron pockets at the $X$ point. These data agree relatively well with the electronic structure calculations. Read More


As a strong correlated material, VO2 undergoes a typical metal-insulator transition and this transition behavior can be reversibly modulated by hydrogen doping. Normally, incorporating hydrogen atoms into VO2 crystal always lies on the catalytic spillover method such as Au or Pd as the catalysis in hydrogens flux or protons implantation with high energy. Diluted acid solution contains uniformly distributed protons in the liquid state and the concentration is also controllable, while it is difficult to be used as a proton source for electron/proton doping due to the instability and corrosion of VO2 in it. Read More


The physical properties of polycrystalline materials depend on their microstructure, which is the nano-to-centimeter-scale arrangement of phases and defects in their interior. Such microstructure depends on the shape, crystallographic phase and orientation, and interfacing of the grains constituting the material. This article presents a new non-destructive 3D technique to study bulk samples with sizes in the cm range with a resolution of hundred micrometers: time-of-flight three-dimensional neutron diffraction (ToF 3DND). Read More


The reliable production of two-dimensional (2D) crystals are essential for exploring new science and implementing novel technologies in the 2D limit. However, ongoing efforts are limited by the vague potential in scaling-up, restrictions in growth substrates and conditions, small sizes and/or instability of synthesized materials. Here we report the fabrication of large-area, high-quality 2D tellurium (termed tellurene) by a substrate-free solution process. Read More


We used DFT to study the energetics of the decomposition of alane, AlH3, on the Si(001) surface, as the acceptor complement to PH3. Alane forms a dative bond with the raised atoms of silicon surface dimers, via the Si atom lone pair. We calculated the energies of various structures along the pathway of successive dehydrogenation events following adsorption: AlH2, AlH and Al, finding a gradual, significant decrease in energy. Read More


We investigate how external screening shapes excitons in two-dimensional (2d) semiconductors embedded in laterally structured dielectric environments. An atomic scale view of these elementary excitations is developed using models which apply to a variety of materials including transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs). We find that structured dielectrics imprint a peculiar potential energy landscape on excitons in these systems: While the ground-state exciton is least influenced, higher excitations are attracted towards regions with high dielectric constant of the environment. Read More


It is proposed that negative static dielectric susceptibility values may be obtained in materials that consume energy. Preliminary experimental evidence is presented for a single unit-cell of an active metamaterial. Read More


The rhenium-based transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) are atypical of the TMD family due to their highly anisotropic crystalline structure and are recognized as promising materials for two dimensional heterostructure devices. The nature of the band gap (direct or indirect) for bulk, few and single layer forms of ReS$_2$ is of particular interest, due to its comparatively weak inter-planar interaction. However, the degree of inter-layer interaction and the question of whether a transition from indirect to direct gap is observed on reducing thickness (as in other TMDs) are controversial. Read More


Motivated by recent experiments, we present a comprehensive theoretical study of the geometrically frustrated strongly correlated magnetic insulator Mn$_3$O$_4$ spinel oxide based on a microscopic Hamiltonian involving lattice, spin and orbital degrees of freedom. Possessing the physics of degenerate e$_g$ orbitals, this system shows a strong Jahn-Teller effect at high temperatures. Further, careful attention is paid to the special nature of the superexchange physics arising from the 90$^o$ Mn-O-Mn bonding angle. Read More


The ground state of the spin-$1/2$ Heisenberg antiferromagnet on a distorted triangular lattice is studied using a numerical-diagonalization method. The network of interactions is the $\sqrt{3}\times\sqrt{3}$ type; the interactions are continuously controlled between the undistorted triangular lattice and the dice lattice. We find new states between the nonmagnetic 120-degree-structured state of the undistorted triangular case and the up-up-down state of the dice case. Read More


We investigated current-induced effective magnetic field Heff in half-metallic oxide La0.67Sr0.33MnO3 (LSMO) films with various thicknesses by using the planar Hall effect. Read More


Room-temperature ferromagnetic semiconductor is vital in nonvolatile digital circuits and it can provide an idea system where we can make use of both charge and spin of electrons. However, seeking room-temperature ferromagnetic semiconductors is still just an appealing idea that is never realized in practice up to now. Here we demonstrate that graphene monolayer, hybridized with underlying Ni substrate, is the room-temperature ferromagnetic semiconductor that has been continuously searched for decades. Read More


Fast carrier cooling is important for high power graphene based devices. Strongly Coupled Optical Phonons (SCOPs) play a major role in the relaxation of photoexcited carriers in graphene. Heterostructures of graphene and hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) have shown exceptional mobility and high saturation current, which makes them ideal for applications, but the effect of the hBN substrate on carrier cooling mechanisms is not understood. Read More


The transition metal dichalcogenide 1T-TaS$_2$ is well known to harbor a rich variety of charge density wave (CDW) distortions which are correlated with underlying lattice atom modulations. The long range CDW phases extend throughout the whole crystal and terminate with charge displacements at the crystal boundaries. Here we report on the transport properties and capacitance characteristics of the interface between freshly exfoliated flakes of 1T-TaS$_2$ in intimate van der Waals contact with \textit{n}-type GaAs substrates. Read More


Analysis of the band structure of TiS$_3$ single-layers suggests the possibility of changing their physical behaviour by injecting electron carriers. The anisotropy of the valence and conduction bands is explained in terms of their complex orbital composition. The nature of the Fermi surface and Lindhard response function for different doping concentrations is studied by means of first-principles DFT calculations. Read More


Group-VI monochalcogenides are attracting a great deal of attention due to their peculiar anisotropic properties. Very recently, it has been suggested that GeS could act as a promissory absorbing material with high input-output ratios, relevant features for designing prospective optoelectronic devices. In this work, we use the \emph{ab-initio} many body perturbation theory to study the role of the electron-phonon coupling on orthorhombic GeS. Read More


The formation of framework vacancies in Si- and Ge-based type-I clathrates is studied as function of filling the cages with K and Ba atoms using density-functional theory. Our analysis reveals the relevance of structural disorder, geometric relaxation, electronic saturation, as well as vibrational and configurational entropy. In the Si clathrates we find that vacancies are unstable, but very differently, in Ge clathrates up to three vacancies per unit cell can be stabilized. Read More


We present the results of neutron scattering experiments to study the crystal and magnetic structures of the Mott-insulating transition metal oxyselenides Pr2O2M2OSe2 (M = Mn, Fe). The structural role of the non-Kramers Pr3+ ion is investigated and analysis of Pr3+ crystal field excitations performed. Long-range order of Pr3+ moments in Pr2O2Fe2OSe2 can be induced by an applied magnetic field. Read More


Methylammonium lead triiodide (CH3NH3PbI3) perovskite solar cell is a gem in the list of photovoltaic semiconductors. Although there are numerous fundamental and technological questions yet to be addressed covering various aspects of this system for its commercialization, this study has employed first-principles DFT to model the [PbI6(CH3NH3)n]m zero-dimensional nanoclusters. Using the calculated binding energy landscapes, it has answered the question: why the corner-sharing PbI6 octahedron is surrounded by eight units of the organic cation in the large-scale supramolecular structures of the CH3NH3PbI3 system in 3D? The synergistic effect of the methylammonium, as well as the consequence of positive and negative cooperative effects associated with intermolecular hydrogen bonding on the supramolecular evolution of the CH3NH3PbI3 crystals is briefly outlined. Read More


We show that the inclusion of screened exchange via hybrid functionals provides a unified description of the electronic and vibrational properties of TiSe_2. In contrast to local approximations in density functional theory, the explicit inclusion of exact, non-local exchange captures the effects of the electron-electron interaction needed to both separate the Ti-d states from the Se-p states and stabilize the charge-density-wave (CDW) (or low-T) phase via the formation of a p-d hybridized state. We further show that this leads to an enhanced electron-phonon coupling that can drive the transition even if a small gap opens in the high-T phase. Read More


Carrier selective (CS) silicon solar cells are increasingly explored using a variety of different materials. However, the optimum properties of such CS materials are not well understood. In this context, through detailed analytical and numerical modeling, here we provide several interesting insights on the efficiency tradeoff with CS material properties. Read More


We report on the growth of axial InAs-on-GaAs nanowire heterostructures on silicon by molecular beam epitaxy using 20 nm diameter Au catalysts. First, the growth parameters of the GaAs nanowire segment were optimized to achieve a pure wurtzite crystal structure. Then, we developed a two-step growth procedure to enhance the yield of vertical InAs-on-GaAs nanowires. Read More


We report the enthalpy of oxygen vacancy formation in thin films of electron-doped SrTiO$_{3}$, under different degrees of epitaxial stress. We demonstrate that both compressive and tensile strain decrease this energy at a very similar rate, and promote the formation of stable doubly ionized oxygen vacancies. Moreover, we also show that unintentional cationic vacancies introduced under typical growth conditions, produce a characteristic rotation pattern of TiO$_6$ octahedra. Read More


We study three-dimensional nodal line semimetals (NLSMs) with magnetic ordering and strong spin-orbit interaction. Two distinct classes of magnetic NLSMs are proposed. The first class is band-inversion NLSM where the accidental line node is induced by band inversion and locally protected by glide mirror plane and the combined time-reversal and inversion symmetries. Read More


We present the successful synthesis of single-atom-thick borophene nanoribbons (BNRs) by self-assembly of boron on Ag(110) surface. The scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) studies reveal high quality BNRs: all the ribbons are along the [-110] direction of Ag(110), and can run across the steps on the surface. The width of ribbons is distributed in a narrow range around 10. Read More


We investigate the polarization selection rules of sharp zero-phonon lines (ZPLs) from isolated defects in hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) and compare our findings with the predictions of a configuration coordinate model involving two electronic states. Our survey, which spans the spectral range ~550-740 nm, reveals that, in disagreement with a two-level model, the absorption and emission dipoles are often misaligned. We relate the dipole misalignment angle (${\Delta}{\theta}$) to the ZPL Stokes shift (${\Delta}E$) and find that ${\Delta}{\theta}\sim 0{\deg}$ when ${\Delta}E$ corresponds to an allowed h-BN phonon frequency and that $0{\deg}\leq{\Delta}{\theta}\leq 90{\deg}$ when ${\Delta}E$ exceeds the maximum allowed h-BN phonon frequency. Read More


This paper introduces a novel method to account for quantum disorder effects into the classical drift-diffusion model of semiconductor transport through the localization landscape theory. Quantum confinement and quantum tunneling in the disordered system change dramatically the energy barriers acting on the perpendicular transport of heterostructures. In addition they lead to percolative transport through paths of minimal energy in the 2D landscape of disordered energies of multiple 2D quantum wells. Read More


Here, we study the electromagnetic response of asymmetric mushroom-type metamaterials loaded with nonlinear elements. It is shown that near a Fano resonance these structures may have a strong tunable, bi-stable, and switchable response and enable giant nonlinear effects. Using an effective medium theory and full wave simulations, it is proven that the nonlinear elements may allow the reflection and transmission coefficients to follow hysteresis loops, and to switch the metamaterial between "go" and "no-go" states similar to an ideal electromagnetic switch. Read More