New quantum material significantly improves adiabatic demagnetization cooling
To reach temperatures closely above absolute zero at −273.16 °C the demagnetization of magnetic materials under adiabatic, i.e., thermally insulated, conditions is utilized. Up to now, diluted magnetic salts have been used for this purpose. Researchers from Augsburg, Göttingen, Kyoto and Iowa State University report in „Science Advances“ on the discovery of a new metallic compound with super-heavy electrons, whose cooling efficiency significantly beats that of currently used paramagnetic salts.
Fundamental research often requires very low temperatures, e.g. to investigate novel quantum effects in matter or to operate highly sensitive particle detectors. Usually the very rare 3-He isotope is utilized for cooling. It exhibits the lowest boiling point of matter but its price is extraordinary high. Over the last decade it increased more than tenfold.
Established: adiabatic demagnetization of paramagnetic salts
The adiabatic demagnetization method is a well-priced and uncomplicated alternative for using 3-He gas. It utilizes magnetic salts whose moments interact so weakly without magnetic field, that they are randomly oriented and order themselves only at very low temperatures. In a moderately large magnetic field the moments are aligned already at enhanced temperature. The entropy is a measure of the degree of disorder or misalignment of the moments. For cooling, the moments are therefore first aligned in a field, to reduce their entropy. Subsequently, the magnetic field is decreased to zero under adiabatic conditions that is without heat exchange to the environment. Because entropy remains constant during this processes, the material can only keep its low entropy if it cools down to very low temperatures.
Significant improvement of efficiency
Commercial adiabatic demagnetization uses paramagnetic salts. However, their thermal conductivity is so bad, that a network of metal wires has to be introduced to them, which significantly reduces the efficiency of the cooling substance per volume. Consequently, the physicists from Augsburg University together with collaborators from Göttingen University, Kyoto University and the Iowa State University intended to develop an alternative cooling substance with improved thermal conductivity. The new synthesized compound (Yb1-xScx)Co2Zn20 has the potential to significantly improve adiabatic demagnetization cooling.
Upon cooling a metal with magnetic moments, typically either ordering of the moments occurs or the moments are getting invalid due to their screening by the conduction electrons. In both cases the entropy is strongly reduced already at elevated temperatures preventing adiabatic demagnetization cooling to very low temperatures. “Aim of our research has been to avoid both effects simultaneously. If successful, it would enable effective cooling by a magnetic metal”, says Prof. Dr. Philipp Gegenwart, leader of the project at Augsburg University.
Formation of super-heavy electrons at low temperatures
The newly discovered (Yb1-xScx)Co2Zn20 fulfills all requirements for the desired properties. As shown in the attached sketch of its structure (inset), the magnetic Yb moments are surrounded by cages from Zn atoms. This structural arrangement is crucial. On the one hand, it hinders the screening of the Yb moments by the Co conduction electrons, on the other hand it also impedes the formation of long-range order. Consequently, the weak interaction of Yb moments and their environment leads to the formation of super-heavy electrons at low temperatures. A small dilution of the Yb atoms by non-magnetic Sc tunes the onset of magnetic order to exact zero temperature. Such a “quantum critical point” in principle allows for cooling down to absolute zero.
Even below 0.03 K
The data published in „Science Advances“ indicate that the new compound, developed by Gegenwart and his international team, cools very strongly during adiabatic demagnetization – even below the lowest measureable temperature 0.03 K of the used setup. Cooling efficiency and thermal conductivity of the new material are significantly better compared to that of magnetic salts evidencing its suitability for improving current low-temperature cooling devices.
Y. Tokiwa, B. Piening, H. S. Jeevan, S.L. Bud’ko. P. C. Canfield, P. Gegenwart, Super-heavy electron material as metallic refrigerant for adiabatic demagnetization cooling. Sci. Adv. 2, e1600835 (2016).
Prof. Dr. Philipp Gegenwart
Lehrstuhl für Experimentalphysik VI/EKM
Institut für Physik / Zentrum für Elektronische Korrelationen und Magnetismus
Klaus P. Prem | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm
23.03.2018 | Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics
Drug or duplicate?
23.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Festkörperphysik IAF
Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.
The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.
The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
23.03.2018 | Event News
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy