Resonant scattering studies of spin-orbit entangled electrons
Spin-orbit entangled electrons on so-called frustrated lattices provide an extremely fertile ground to realize and explore novel states of matter. In these frustrated systems, different interactions compete so strongly that no static long-ranged order can form and instead quantum fluctuations dominate. A very famous and presently also very intensively studied case in point are spin-orbit entangled d-electrons on a honeycomb lattice. Here, a quantum spin liquid with new emergent properties can emerge, which one day could become a key component for quantum computing.
However, a quantum spin liquid occurs only under very special conditions, which are usually not fully satisfied in real materials. It is therefore very important to determine the relevant parameters for a material experimentally or to tune it via an external parameter into an interesting regime. This is precisely the objective of the project at hand. Since spin-orbit entangled electrons couple to the lattice, their behavior can be manipulated through well-controlled changes of the structure. You will therefore use hydrostatic pressure to tune the magnetism of these electrons via the lattice structure. To this end, you will work in our brand-new high-pressure laboratory and perform cutting-edge resonant x-ray scattering experiments at external synchrotron facilities. With these measurements you will be able to explore the local electronic structure as well as the collective behavior of spin-orbit coupled electrons on frustrated lattices in great detail. Together with a fellow PhD-student in the group of Prof. Tjeng, you will also establish a new type of pressure-dependent x-ray spectroscopy.