Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Studying electrons, bridging two realms of physics: connecting solids and soft matter

18.02.2020

Scientists explain how exotic phenomena involving electrons in certain solid systems are similar to particles in certain liquid systems or soft matter

Electrons are interesting particles that can modify their behavior according to their condition of existence. For instance, in a phenomenon called the Mott-transition, electrons begin to interact differently with their neighbors and surroundings in a material.


Temperature-pressure-randomness phase diagram of a Mott transition system, as proposed in this study. In the electronic Griffiths phase, the electrons in the solid material behave like the particles of soft matter

Credit: Professor Tetsuaki Itou

Normally, the electrons in a material have low levels of interaction with each other and therefore, move freely enough for the material to conduct electricity (and the material shows metallic properties).

But under certain conditions, these same electrons begin to have high levels of interaction with each other and their movement becomes restricted.

This causes the material to become an insulator. The alteration of the properties of the material is called the Mott-transition.

At the Mott-transition, certain phenomena such as high-temperature superconductivity and giant magnetoresistance are seen, which have massive industrial applications. Thus, studying these phenomena is essential.

But to truly discover these phenomena, it is important to understand electron behavior in disordered materials (materials in which the arrangement of the constituent particles is interrupted at points over the long range).

A group of scientists from Tokyo University of Science, The University of Tokyo, and Tohoku University in Japan, led by Prof Tetsuaki Itou, recently set out to investigate exactly this. They used a quasi-two-dimensional organic Mott-insulator called κ-(ET)2Cu[N(CN)2]Cl (hereafter κCl), whose disorder and electron interaction level they independently controlled by irradiating the material with x-rays and applying pressure, respectively.

When they irradiated κCl with x-rays for 500 hours, they found that electron movement slowed down by a factor ranging from one million to one hundred million. This meant that its electrons begin to behave peculiarly, as though they're the constituent particles of soft matter (e.g., polymers, gels, cream, etc.). When the scientists applied pressure on the irradiated κCl, the electron behavior returned to normal.

From these observations, the scientists deduced that for electrons in solids to behave like the particles of soft matter, two factors are essential: the material must be in the vicinity of the Mott-transition point and there must be disorder.

The simultaneous existence of these two factors is a manifestation of a phenomenon similar to the Griffiths phase, which has already been established for magnetic materials.

What the researchers found here is evidence for its electronic analog: the electronic Griffiths phase. "Our results provide experimental evidence that the Griffiths scenario is also applicable to Mott-transition systems" remarks Prof Itou.

This exciting new study is published in Physical Review Letters under "Editors' Suggestion", which is suggested by the journal when the study is interesting and important. The study represents a bridge between condensed matter physics and soft matter physics, which have hitherto developed completely independently. "We expect that, with the publication of our study, further discussions linking these disciplines will be carried out," says Prof Itou. The insights gained from this study may allow scientists to explain the mechanisms underlying these exotic phenomena, which could have very powerful applications, not the least of which involves opening doors to whole new possibilities in a much wider realm of physics.

###

Further Information

Professor Tetsuaki Itou
Department of Applied Physics
Tokyo University of Science
Email: tetsuaki.itou@rs.tus.ac.jp

Professor Takahiko Sasaki
Institute for Materials Research
Tohoku University
Email: takahiko@imr.tohoku.ac.jp

Professor Kazushi Kanoda
Department of Applied Physics
The University of Tokyo
Email: kanoda@ap.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Media contact
Tsutomu Shimizu
Public Relations Divisions
Tokyo University of Science
Email: mediaoffice@admin.tus.ac.jp
Website: https://www.tus.ac.jp/en/mediarelations/

Institute for Materials Research
Tohoku University
Email: pro-adm@imr.tohoku.ac.jp

Office of Public Relations
School of Engineering
The University of Tokyo
Email: kouhou@pr.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Funding information

This work was supported in part by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Grant Nos. 25220709, 17K05532, 18H05225, and 19H01833).

Tsutomu Shimizu | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.124.046404

Further reports about: Applied Physics Electrons matter physics movement phenomena

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Belle II yields the first results: In search of the Z′ boson
06.04.2020 | Max-Planck-Institut für Physik

nachricht Scientists see energy gap modulations in a cuprate superconductor
02.04.2020 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: When ions rattle their cage

Electrolytes play a key role in many areas: They are crucial for the storage of energy in our body as well as in batteries. In order to release energy, ions - charged atoms - must move in a liquid such as water. Until now the precise mechanism by which they move through the atoms and molecules of the electrolyte has, however, remained largely unknown. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research have now shown that the electrical resistance of an electrolyte, which is determined by the motion of ions, can be traced back to microscopic vibrations of these dissolved ions.

In chemistry, common table salt is also known as sodium chloride. If this salt is dissolved in water, sodium and chloride atoms dissolve as positively or...

Im Focus: Harnessing the rain for hydrovoltaics

Drops of water falling on or sliding over surfaces may leave behind traces of electrical charge, causing the drops to charge themselves. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz have now begun a detailed investigation into this phenomenon that accompanies us in every-day life. They developed a method to quantify the charge generation and additionally created a theoretical model to aid understanding. According to the scientists, the observed effect could be a source of generated power and an important building block for understanding frictional electricity.

Water drops sliding over non-conducting surfaces can be found everywhere in our lives: From the dripping of a coffee machine, to a rinse in the shower, to an...

Im Focus: A sensational discovery: Traces of rainforests in West Antarctica

90 million-year-old forest soil provides unexpected evidence for exceptionally warm climate near the South Pole in the Cretaceous

An international team of researchers led by geoscientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have now...

Im Focus: Blocking the Iron Transport Could Stop Tuberculosis

The bacteria that cause tuberculosis need iron to survive. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now solved the first detailed structure of the transport protein responsible for the iron supply. When the iron transport into the bacteria is inhibited, the pathogen can no longer grow. This opens novel ways to develop targeted tuberculosis drugs.

One of the most devastating pathogens that lives inside human cells is Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis. According to the...

Im Focus: Physicist from Hannover Develops New Photon Source for Tap-proof Communication

An international team with the participation of Prof. Dr. Michael Kues from the Cluster of Excellence PhoenixD at Leibniz University Hannover has developed a new method for generating quantum-entangled photons in a spectral range of light that was previously inaccessible. The discovery can make the encryption of satellite-based communications much more secure in the future.

A 15-member research team from the UK, Germany and Japan has developed a new method for generating and detecting quantum-entangled photons at a wavelength of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

13th AKL – International Laser Technology Congress: May 4–6, 2022 in Aachen – Laser Technology Live already this year!

02.04.2020 | Event News

“4th Hybrid Materials and Structures 2020” takes place over the internet

26.03.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

TU Dresden chemists develop noble metal aerogels for electrochemical hydrogen production and other applications

06.04.2020 | Life Sciences

Lade-PV Project Begins: Vehicle-integrated PV for Electrical Commercial Vehicles

06.04.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Lack of Knowledge and Uncertainty about Algorithms in Online Services

06.04.2020 | Social Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>