Copper-based materials show strange spin states

March 28, 2012 By Jared Sagoff
New research shows how transitions of state work in very simple lattices primarily composed of copper.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Just as water, ice, and steam are all phases of the same material that are influenced by temperature and pressure, new research shows how transitions of state work in very simple lattices primarily composed of copper.

When it comes to trying to understand a variety of different molecular phenomena, like magnetism and superconductivity, researchers look to the "spin states" of located on a . Unlike many lattice studies, which look at the position of particles or in , a new experiment performed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory investigated the response of more simple two-dimensional lattices to extreme pressures.

The study’s lead author, Argonne and University of Chicago physicist Sara Haravifard, explained that the research experimentally proved a result that had heretofore only been expected theoretically. "It’s important to understand how spins interact with each other so we can get a picture of the behavior of more complicated systems," she said.

The material under study, strontium borate, exhibits two separate ground states. In one, the cumulative spins are zero, so the material is not . In the other, the system will go into an ordered state, and the material exhibits a special form of magnetism known as "antiferromagnetism."

According to Haravifard, the spin structure of the material is primarily controlled by the quantum mechanical relationships between the copper molecules, which in turn influences which of two different ground states the lattice will most likely occupy. "The answer to the question of how the material will look really depends on the interactions between each copper’s nearest neighbors," she said.

The high-energy X-rays produced by Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source reveal only part of the material’s characteristics. "In this case X-rays can ‘see’ the crystal structure of the lattice, not the magnetism," Haravifard said.

However, she added that both the lattice and the magnetic behavior evolved in tandem with temperature. Haravifard and her team used diamond anvil cells to generate the extreme pressures necessary to observe the change in the ground state.

"What’s important to realize is that if we can understand exactly how the material changes as we adjust the applied pressure, we can control the formation of the different ground states," she said. "In this system, what nature told us was that there is a very strong magnetic and lattice-structure coupling."

In the long-term, Haravifard’s research into spin states could "bridge the gap" to new classes of exotic materials with a range of "tunable," or controllable, properties. Similar behaviors have been shown in high-temperature superconductors, and the manipulations performed in the new study "supplement our strong theoretical understanding of these ," Haravifard said.

Explore further: Magnetic switching under pressure

More information: An article based on the study recently appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Related Stories

Magnetic switching under pressure

December 3, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A material’s properties are a critical factor in the way that material can be used for practical applications. Magnetism is one such property, and magnetic switches are key components for advances in ...

Superconductivity's third side unmasked

June 17, 2011

The debate over the mechanism that causes superconductivity in a class of materials called the pnictides has been settled by a research team from Japan and China. Superconductivity was discovered in the pnictides only recently, ...

Recommended for you

Quantum internet goes hybrid

November 22, 2017

In a recent study published in Nature, ICFO researchers led by ICREA Prof. Hugues de Riedmatten report an elementary "hybrid" quantum network link and demonstrate photonic quantum communication between two distinct quantum ...

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

November 22, 2017

Researchers have discovered that dense ensembles of quantum spins can be created in diamond with high resolution using an electron microscopes, paving the way for enhanced sensors and resources for quantum technologies.

Study shows how to get sprayed metal coatings to stick

November 21, 2017

When bonding two pieces of metal, either the metals must melt a bit where they meet or some molten metal must be introduced between the pieces. A solid bond then forms when the metal solidifies again. But researchers at MIT ...

Imaging technique unlocks the secrets of 17th century artists

November 21, 2017

The secrets of 17th century artists can now be revealed, thanks to 21st century signal processing. Using modern high-speed scanners and the advanced signal processing techniques, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

kaasinees
Mar 28, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Setooie
1 / 5 (1) Apr 13, 2012
Thanks a lot buddy. Its such a great post.

_________________________________________________________
http://thelegendofkorraepi1and2.squarespace.com/
http://avatarthelastairbenderseason4episode1and2.webstarts.com/

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.