PerspectiveComplex Oxides

Straining quantum materials even further

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Science  03 Apr 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6486, pp. 32-33
DOI: 10.1126/science.aba6469

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Summary

Quantum materials display strong electron-electron correlations that lead to distinctive electronic properties because charge, spin, orbital, and structural degrees of freedom are highly intertwined. Examples include unconventional superconductivity and nematicity in high–critical temperature (TC) superconductors (1), charge-orbital ordered states (2), and exotic magnetic states (3). For many of these states of matter, we do not yet understand their origin (4), but it is clear that they form when the system is on the verge of instability—that is, near a phase boundary between competing ground states. Phase diagrams in which order parameters are plotted against external perturbations (field, composition, or strain) are important tools for recognizing patterns in complex systems. On page 71 of this issue, Hong et al. (2) made thin membranes of the perovskite manganite La0.7Ca0.3MnO3 to apply large tensile strains and investigate previously inaccessible parts of its phase space.

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