Advanced synthesis and characterization of Hg-based materials

Discovery of new materials lies at the forefront of condensed matter physics and solid-state chemistry research. In order to contribute to this critical goal, this project will search for unconventional superconductivity and complex magnetic orders among binary compounds of rare-earth elements and mercury. It is well known that mercury-based superconductors show peculiar characteristics, including high critical temperatures, which can be enhanced by pressure. Some mercury-based materials show topologically nontrivial states. Peculiar magnetic correlations, brought on by mixing of 5d and 4f orbitals, have been observed many solid-state compounds, containing rare-earth elements and mercury. However, the vast majority of studied compounds are ternaries, quaternaries and quinaries with very little work done so far on rare-earth-mercury binaries.

We have previously shown peculiar features of rare-earth-mercury binary compounds – complex magnetism of U23Hg88  [1], uni-directional disorder in UHg6.4  [2], superconductivity in LaHg6.4  [3], LuHg3 and YHg3. This project will use various synthesis and characterization techniques in order to prepare and study single-phase, defect-free samples of several strongly correlated rare-earth-mercury systems.

Most of the work will be done in-house, with several inter- and intra-departmental collaborations. This project is ideally suited for a student with a background in solid-state chemistry or physics, with an emphasis on synthesis. The majority of student’s time will be spent on synthesis, with an opportunity to learn several sample quality as well as physical property characterization techniques.

[1] E. Svanidze, A. Amon, R. Borth, Y. Prots, M. Schmidt, M. Nicklas, A. Leithe-Jasper, and Y. Grin
Empirical way for finding new uranium-based heavy-fermion materials
Phys. Rev. B 99, 220403 (2019)
[2] Y. Prots, M. Krnel, M. Schmidt, Y. Grin, and E. Svanidze
Uranium-mercury complex antiferromagnet: UHg6.4
Phys. Rev. B 106, L060412 (2022)
[3] Y. Prots, M. Krnel, Y. Grin, and E. Svanidze
Superconductivity in Crystallographically Disordered LaHg6.4
Inorg. Chem. accepted (2022)

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