Towards nanodevices made of exotic actinide-based materials

Some solid-state compounds can be exfoliated, creating nanometer-thin flakes. This possibility gives access to a novel class of materials which can then be tuned or combined in order to design new materials layer-by-layer [1]. In recent years, evidence of unconventional superconductivity has been found in several 2D materials, such as monolayer WTe2 [2] and in heterostructures such as twisted bilayer graphene [3] and twisted cuprate superconductors [4,5].

Actinide-based systems exhibit a wide range of properties – from unconventional superconductivity to peculiar magnetic orders. Notably, single crystals of many actinide-based superconductors tend to be strongly influenced by microscopic defects, the effect of which on superconducting state is not yet fully understood [6, 7]. By looking at micro-scale flakes of unconventional actinide-based materials [8], we can significantly improve the sample purity and access different dimensionality, consequently, studying its effects on the superconductivity.

The project combines novel material characterization, the study of quantum devices in cryogenic conditions, and a comparison of the interplay between dimensionality and physical properties. Through this project, the student can gain expertise in a broad range of topics in condensed matter physics, solid-state chemistry and quantum technology.

[1] Novoselov, K. S. et al.
“2D materials and van der Waals heterostructures”
Science 353, 9439 (2016)
[2] Fatemi, V. et al.
“Electrically tunable low-density superconductivity in a monolayer topological Insulator”
Science 362, 926 (2018)
[3] Cao, Y. et al.
“Unconventional superconductivity in magic-angle graphene superlattices”
Nature 556, 43 (2018)
[4] Zhao, S. Y. F. et al.
„Emergent Interfacial Superconductivity between Twisted Cuprate Superconductors”
arXiv:2108.13455 (2021)
[5] Lee, Y. et al.
Encapsulating high-temperature superconducting twisted van der Waals heterostructures blocks detrimental effects of disorder
Advanced Materials 35, 2209135 (2023)
[6] A. Amon et al.
“Tracking aluminium impurities in single crystals of the heavy-fermion superconductor UBe13,”
Sci. Rep. 8, 10654 (2018); E. Svanidze et al., “Revealing intrinsic properties of UBe13”, in preparation (2023)
[7] E. Svanidze
“Uranium-based superconducting materials”
Handbook on the Physics and Chemistry of Rare Earths 56, 163 (2019)
[8] S. Ran
“Nearly ferromagnetic spin-triplet superconductivity”
Science 365, 684 (2019); E. Svanidze et al., “Intrinsic crystal structure of UTe2”, in preparation (2023)

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