MagLab users have discovered that magnetism is key to understanding the behavior of electrons in high-temperature superconductors.

In everyday life, phase transitions - like when water boils and turns into steam or freezes and becomes ice -  are caused by changes in temperature. Here, very high magnetic fields are used to reveal a quantum phase transition not caused by temperature, but instead driven by quantum mechanics upon changing the concentration of electrons, work that could hold critical clues that explain high-temperature superconductivity.

 

Physics does not yet know why copper-based superconductors (cuprates) conduct electrical current without dissipation at unprecedentedly high temperatures. Ultra high magnetic fields are used here to suppress superconductivity in a cuprate near absolute zero temperature, revealing an underlying transition to an electronic phase that might be the cause of the superconductivity.

This highlight reports on the still poorly understood transition to an electron crystalline state (the Wigner crystal) in a two-dimensional system at extremely low densities, observable at low temperatures as a function of magnetic field. This experiment finds a surprising stabilization of the Wigner crystal arising from magnetic-field-induced spin alignment. Such electrically-delicate samples require the ultra-low-noise environment and experimental techniques available at the High B/T facility.

A sports and science mash up featuring a few new geeky games inspired by the cool things scientists study in high-field magnets. 

Topological semimetals are an exciting new area of research due to their number of predicted and unexpected quantum mechanical states. Understanding these materials may also lead to quantum devices that function at near room temperature.

A nematic phase is where the molecular/atomic dynamics show elements of both liquids and solids, like in liquid crystal displays on digital watches or calculators. Using high magnetic fields and high pressure, researchers probed the electronic states of an iron-based superconductor and found that its nematic state weakened superconductivity.

The observation of topological states coupled with superconductivity represents an opportunity for scientists to manipulate nontrivial superconducting states via the spin-orbit interaction. While superconductivity has been extensively studied since its discovery in 1910, the advent of topological materials gives scientists a new avenue to explore quantum matter. BiPd is being studied using "MagLab-sized fields" by scientists from LSU in an effort to determine if it is indeed a topological superconductor.

Scientists found that the emergence of an exotic quantum mechanical phase in Ce1-xNdxCoIn5 is due to a shape change in the Fermi surface. This finding ran counter to theoretical arguments and has led investigators in new directions.

A material already known for its unique behavior is found to carry current in a way never before observed.

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