Solid-State Physics

Engineering a copper oxide look-alike

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Science  30 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6221, pp. 516
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6221.516-e

Many discoveries of spectacular material properties are serendipitous. Scientists can make the discovery process more predictable if they design materials from the “bottom up” to behave in a certain way. Disa et al. fabricated heterostructures consisting of alternating layers of LaTiO3, LaNiO3, and LaAlO3, with the aim of making a material in which the top two valence orbitals are filled with electrons to very different degrees. This property can lead to exotic effects and may be useful for making high temperature copper oxide superconductors. The authors used x-ray absorption spectroscopy to verify the properties of the heterostructure. Their theoretical calculations showed that replacing LaAlO3 with a different material can lead to further improvements.

Phys. Rev. Lett. 10.1103/PhysRevLett.114.026801 (2015).

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