Jak Chakhalian of the University of Arkansas, A.J. Millis of Columbia University and J. Rondinelli of Drexel University present their ideas in the current issue of Nature.
“Where you see issues, there are opportunities,” Chakhalian said.
The researchers focus on complex oxide interfaces with strongly correlated electrons, which are artificially created structures involving materials called transition metal oxides. Oxide interfaces have the potential to revolutionize materials and devices based on them the way that semiconductors once did, but researchers find themselves hampered by several obstacles.
First, no one has developed a comprehensive theory of why oxide interfaces behave as they do, which means that scientists cannot predict or often even explain the materials’ properties. Second, scientists face challenges in synthesizing these complex materials with atomic precision. Synthesizing involves taking several chemical elements balanced very precisely and combining them into intricate geometrical arrangements. On top of this, to create interfaces, scientists must grow these very dissimilar materials together.
While these challenges may seem intimidating, Chakhalian and his colleagues see two opportunities. The first is to grow materials in unusual directions. Chakhalian has already demonstrated that an oxide interface grown along the diagonal of a cube will crystalize into triangular and hexagonal atomic patterns, while the same material grown on a conventional “horizontal” surface will have a common cubic pattern.
“When grown along the diagonal, from the mechanical, electronic and magnetic properties point of view it becomes a new, exotic material,” he said. By forcing materials to grow in directions that they would usually resist in nature, Chakhalian suggests a way to find these novel exotic materials.
The second opportunity involves creating interfaces between oxide materials and materials where oxygen is replaced by another element, which leads to entirely new materials with novel electronic properties. For instance, nickel oxide is an insulator but nickel sulfide is metallic. By alternating an oxide-based layer with a non-oxide based layer, scientists propose creating interfaces with important properties for, among other things, energy savings and water purification.
“If you want to talk about the next nanoelectronics revolution or real solutions to the energy problem, these are some of the groundbreaking directions we propose to take,” Chakhalian said.
Chakhalian is the Charles and Clydene Scharlau Professor of Physics in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.CONTACTS:
Melissa Lutz Blouin | Newswise Science News
Why geckos can stick to walls
19.11.2018 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
Get rid of sweat at the push of a button
19.11.2018 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
19.11.2018 | Science Education
19.11.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
19.11.2018 | Life Sciences