Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Quantum spin-liquid simulated

The simulation of the quantum spin-liquid was performed on a flat honeycomb structure, where the electrons show a dynamical phase lacking any order.
The simulation of the quantum spin-liquid was performed on a flat honeycomb structure, where the electrons show a dynamical phase lacking any order.

Abstract:
A starting point for superconductivity?

Quantum spin-liquid simulated

Germany | Posted on April 13th, 2010

An exotic state of matter that physicists call a "quantum spin-liquid" can be realized by electrons in a honeycomb crystal structure. This is shown by scientists from the Universities of Stuttgart and Würzburg, Germany in the Nature magazine.

Electrons inside a crystal exist in different states. In many cases it is the crystal structure that decides, if the material is a metal with a finite electric conductivity, or if it is an insulator, which does not carry an electric current. But there also exist insulating materials, whose crystal structures suggest that they should behave like metals. Such materials are called "Mott insulators", and it is the repulsion between the electrons, that suppresses a metallic behaviour, such that the electrons are locked to the atoms.

Such localized electrons tend to order upon lowering the temperature, such as for example in magnetic structures. A "quantum spin-liquid" however is a non-magnetic Mott-insulator that is stabilized purely by quantum mechanical effects. The electrons inside a quantum spin-liquid resist to order down to the lowest temperatures, way down to the absolute zero of temperature at minus 273 degrees Celsius. The tendency to order is suppressed by dynamical fluctuations of the electrons even at zero absolute temperature (quantum fluctuations). For this to happen, the quantum fluctuations must be sufficiently large, which is rarely the case in nature, and also hard to realize in realistic models.

Now theorists from Stuttgart University, Zi Yang Meng, Priv.-Doz. Stefan Wessel, and Prof. Alejandro Muramatsu, together with their colleges Thomas Lang and Prof. Fakher Assaad from Würzburg University, showed that such a quantum spin-liquid exists in a realistic model of interacting electrons. For their study, they used large-scale computer simulations, in order to account for both the interactions between the electrons and their quantum fluctuations. Their unexpected findings were thus accepted for publication in the Nature magazine.

The quantum spin-liquid found by Meng et al. occurs in materials where the atoms form a two-dimensional, periodic array of hexagons, thus realizing a honeycomb lattice. Such a crystal structre is found for example in Graphene, a two-dimensional carbon allotrope, that was only recently synthesized, and has since then been the focus of intensive research. If the electronic interactions could be enhanced in such a material, then the highly interesting quantum spin-liquid state could be realized. It appears unlikly that this can be achieved, for example by expansion, in Graphene. Thus, the physicists from Stuttgart and Würzburg suggest exploring honeycomb-like structures formed from other group IV elements that show enhanced electronic interactions. A first step in this direction might already have been taken, since previously chemist succeeded in synthesizing Graphene-like structures of silicon atoms.

Furthermore, the quantum spin-liquid should also be realizable using ultra-cold atoms. In fact, the mathematical model studied by the physicists describes both interacting electrons in solid state systems as well as interacting ultra-cold atoms in an optical lattice. The impressive progress that has been achieved in this research field opens up the possibility to realize the quantum spin-liquid with ultra-cold atoms.

Another fascinating aspect of the quantum spin-liquid is that it can also be viewed as a starting point for superconductivity. Electric currents would then flow without resistance through the material. This has potential for many applications, such as ultra fast computers or the dissipation free transport of electricity.

In their fundamental research, the two theory groups in Stuttgart and Würzburg analyse complex phases of strongly interacting quantum many-body systems in general. They discovered the quantum spin-liquid phase, while studying possible transitions between metallic and insulating phases in a model for Graphene. In the vicinity of such transitions, the quantum fluctuations become significantly enhanced, and destroy any magnetic order. The scientists could also exclude other types of electronic orders from an extensive analysis. Such a study was only possible with the help of modern supercomputers. In particular, for their calculations, the theorists could profit from the highly efficient supercomputer centers in Jülich, München and Stuttgart. For the future, they hope to apply simulations of strongly interacting electrons also to the design of novel materials that realize exotic states of matter - including the quantum spin-liquid.

The research described above is embedded within the general research activities of the two universities. At the University of Stuttgart, the DFG research unit SFB/TRR 21, "Controll of Quantum Correlations in Tailored Matter", focuses on the realization of tailored quantum systems. Its spokesperson is Prof. Tilmann Pfau from the University of Stuttgart. At the University of Würzburg, a recently established research group "Electron Correlation-Induced Phenomena in Surfaces and Interfaces with Tuneable Interactions" complex electronic states are of central focus. Its spokesperson is Prof. Ralph Claessen from Würzburg University.

Reference
Quantum spin-liquid emerging in two-dimensional correlated Dirac fermions, Zi Yang Meng, Thomas C. Lang, Stefan Wessel, Fakher F. Assaad, and Alejandro Muramatsu, Nature, DOI:10.1038/nature08942

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
PD Dr. Stefan Wessel and Prof. Dr. Alejandro Muramatsu
Institut für Theoretische Physik III, Universität Stuttgart
Phone 0049.711/685-65206/65204

Prof. Dr. Fakher Assaad
Institut für Theoretische Physik der Universität Würzburg
Phone 0049.931/31-83652

Copyright © Universität Stuttgart

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

U.S. Air Force Research Lab Taps IBM to Build Brain-Inspired AI Supercomputing System: Equal to 64 million neurons, new neurosynaptic supercomputing system will power complex AI tasks at unprecedented speed and energy efficiency June 23rd, 2017

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes June 21st, 2017

Possible Futures

U.S. Air Force Research Lab Taps IBM to Build Brain-Inspired AI Supercomputing System: Equal to 64 million neurons, new neurosynaptic supercomputing system will power complex AI tasks at unprecedented speed and energy efficiency June 23rd, 2017

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

Researchers developed nanoparticle based contrast agent for dual modal imaging of cancer June 21st, 2017

Academic/Education

Oxford Instruments congratulates Lancaster University for inaugurating the IsoLab, built for studying quantum systems June 20th, 2017

The 2017 Winners for Generation Nano June 8th, 2017

MIT Energy Initiative awards 10 seed fund grants for early-stage energy research May 4th, 2017

Bar-Ilan University to set up quantum research center May 1st, 2017

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes/Nanorods

Tests show no nanotubes released during utilisation of nanoaugmented materials June 9th, 2017

Ag/ZnO-Nanorods Schottky diodes based UV-PDs are fabricated and tested May 26th, 2017

Fed grant backs nanofiber development: Rice University joins Department of Energy 'Next Generation Machines' initiative May 10th, 2017

Nanotubes that build themselves April 14th, 2017

Discoveries

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes June 21st, 2017

Researchers developed nanoparticle based contrast agent for dual modal imaging of cancer June 21st, 2017

Announcements

U.S. Air Force Research Lab Taps IBM to Build Brain-Inspired AI Supercomputing System: Equal to 64 million neurons, new neurosynaptic supercomputing system will power complex AI tasks at unprecedented speed and energy efficiency June 23rd, 2017

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes June 21st, 2017

Research partnerships

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Alloying materials of different structures offers new tool for controlling properties June 19th, 2017

Learning with light: New system allows optical “deep learning”: Neural networks could be implemented more quickly using new photonic technology June 12th, 2017

Making vessels leaky on demand could aid drug delivery:Rice University scientists use magnets and nanoparticles to open, close gaps in blood vessels June 8th, 2017

Quantum nanoscience

Oxford Instruments congratulates Lancaster University for inaugurating the IsoLab, built for studying quantum systems June 20th, 2017

In atomic propellers, quantum phenomena can mimic everyday physics June 1st, 2017

Unveiling the quantum necklace: Researchers simulate quantum necklace-like structures in superfluids May 26th, 2017

The speed limit for intra-chip communications in microprocessors of the future January 23rd, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project