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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N034872/1
Title: New correlated electronic states arising from strong spin-orbit coupling
Principal Investigator: Boothroyd, Professor AT
Other Investigators:
Prabhakaran, Dr D
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Diamond Light Source National Institute for Materials Science Paul Scherrer Institute
University of Toronto
Department: Oxford Physics
Organisation: University of Oxford
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2016 Ends: 31 October 2019 Value (£): 488,109
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Condensed Matter Physics Magnetism/Magnetic Phenomena
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics
Related Grants:
EP/N034694/1
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
12 May 2016 EPSRC Physical Sciences Materials and Physics - May 2016 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Magnetic phenomena pervade the world around us and are used in a huge variety of practical devices, ranging from nanoscale data storage devices through electric motors to plasma fusion reactors. At a fundamental level, magnetism in solids comes from the coordinated actions of many atomic magnets. The atomic magnetism originates from the intrinsic spin and the orbital motion of the electrons, and the relative importance of spin and orbital magnetism depends on the particular magnetic atom and its environment.

This project concerns magnetism in oxides containing heavy metal atoms such as ruthenium, molybdenum, osmium and rhenium. These atoms have partially filled 4d or 5d electronic orbitals with a large spin-orbit interaction which strongly entwines the spin and orbital magnetism. Until recently, the study of magnetism in the presence of strong spin-orbit coupling was confined to f-electron systems, but today there is increasing focus on 4d and 5d systems, in which the greater mobility of the electrons results in a more diverse range of phenomena.

In the past few years, a large number of theoretical predictions have appeared for magnetic systems with strong spin-orbit coupling, but very few have been confirmed empirically. The predictions include: (i) materials whose atoms have no magnetism when in isolation but develop magnetism through interactions with neighbouring atoms, (ii) anisotropic, bond-directional magnetic couplings resulting in novel propagating magnetic modes, (iii) quantum-mechanically entangled spin and orbital liquid states with exotic emergent quasiparticle excitations, (iv) metal-insulator transitions driven by spin-orbit enhanced magnetic correlations, and (v) unconventional superconductivity of doped electrons mediated by magnetic fluctuations.

The programme of research aims to search for and study these and other novel magnetic phases in 4d and 5d oxides. A significant challenge will be the growth of high quality single crystals, which are essential as samples for the experiments. To overcome this challenge we have assembled two leading crystal growers with a vast amount of relevant expertise, as well as a Project Partner, Prof Yamaura, who brings additional capability in high pressure synthesis. We shall perform measurements to probe the novel spin-orbital states in the materials of interest using state-of-the-art techniques at international synchrotron and neutron facilities. We shall collaborate with staff at the facilities, including our Project Partners the Diamond Light Source and Paul Scherrer Institute, as well as the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble and the ISIS spallation neutron source, to perform the measurements and develop the necessary techniques. Finally, we shall work with our theory Project Partners at the University of Toronto and collaborators to develop a detailed understanding of the new electronic and magnetic states we will uncover.
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Organisation Website: http://www.ox.ac.uk