This story from Brookhaven National Laboratory explains how researchers discovered local broken symmetry in quantum materials at high temperature. Haidong Zhou, associate professor of physics, and Ryan Sinclair (BS 2013; PhD 2018) created the materials used for the study.
Typically, quantum materials reveal exotic behaviors such as superconductivity at low temperature, where their crystal structure shows broken symmetry. Finding local symmetry breaking at high temperature may predict that those properties are possible beyond the low temperature regime, meaning these materials could be candidates for quantum computing or electronics.
Zhou and Sinclair made samples from sodium, titanium, silicon, and oxygen (NaTiSi2O6) for this research. The team, including scientists from BNL, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Columbia University, used neutrons and x-rays to probe this insulating material.
"Studies on quantum materials are important not only for a better understanding of nature but also potentially for future technology developments," Zhou said. "UT has a broad community working on all aspects of quantum materials, including discovery and synthesis. The ability for us to make new materials not only benefits our own research but also other researchers in the state through collaboration. This study at BNL is a good example."
- Story from Brookhaven National Laboratory
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