Peter Wahl, PhD
    Phone: +44 (0)1334 463122
    Clifford Hicks, PhD
    Phone: +49 351 4646-3227
    Fax: +49 351 4646-3232

    Atomic-scale visualization of strain effects

    In many strongly correlated electron materials, a delicate interplay between structural distortions, charge and magnetic orders has a strong influence on macroscopic properties and the overall phase diagram. This interplay is what makes these materials exciting both for fundamental research to understand the driving interactions behind these as well as potentially for technological applications. Recently, it has been demonstrated [1, 2] that uniaxial pressure can have a substantial impact on these emergent orders and the electronic structure of these materials, providing an additional tuning parameter and a new handle which can be used to unravel the underlying physics.

    This project aims to establish atomic-scale visualization of strain-controlled emergent orders in quantum materials by scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy. To this end, you will develop a novel strain device, starting from existing designs used for transport experiments [3] and existing low temperature scanning tunneling microscopy set-ups [4, 5]. Both will be combined into a powerful new method, combining in-situ strain control with atomic-scale imaging and spectroscopy.

    The aim of this project is to study the influence of the strain on electronic states, magnetic and orbital orders near the Fermi energy at the atomic scale, e.g. via quasi-particle interference or spin-polarized scanning tunnelling microscopy [6]. This will provide new insights into the interplay between symmetry breaking electronic states [7] with superconductivity in iron- and copper-oxide based superconductors.

    [1] Hicks, C. W. et al. Science 344, 283–285 (2014).
    [2] Steppke, A. et al. Science 355, eaaf9398 (2017).
    [3] Hicks, C. W., et al. Review of Scientific Instruments 85, 065003 (2014).
    [4] White, S. C., et al. Review of Scientific Instruments 82, 113708 (2011).
    [5] Singh, U. R., et al. Review of Scientific Instruments 84, 013708 (2013).
    [6] Enayat, M. et al. Science 345, 653–656 (2014).
    [7] Singh, U. R. et al. Science Advances 1, e1500206 (2015).

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