Project Description :
When we think about the numerous innovative products that come onto the market each year, it becomes evident what a key role novel materials play in our daily lives. From the latest touch-screen device, to the high-capacity data storage system, to the Maglev "flying" trains, none would be possible without new materials. Moreover, the performance of existing products is consistently improved when their underlying materials become stronger, lighter, cleaner, smaller or more cost-effective. At the Haravifard Laboratory, the quest for novel materials follows a specific course referred to as materials discovery, design and synthesis. Our goal is to better understand, and ultimately control, the emergent behavior in exotic quantum materials, with an eye toward discovering new materials or new physical phenomena. We direct our materials discovery activities by our interest in new superconductors, new frustrated quantum magnets such as exotic spin-liquid systems, and new phases of matter. Our research involves state-of-the-art sample synthesis and crystal growth methods as well as cutting-edge scattering and transport techniques. We leverage the immense existing knowledge of materials and their various properties to tailor new materials that are a blend of the desired characteristics of the known. After we identify and synthesis new compounds we probe various characteristics of the resulting materials - such as magnetism, crystal structure, resistivity, heat capacity, etc. We pursue such experiments at leading national and international facilities, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology and National High Magnet Field laboratory, and regularly use the local shared facilities at Duke (SMIF), UNC, and NCSU. In collaborations with theorists we use these measurements to explain the fundamental physics and the phenomena that actually takes place in the material. The results then help guide us toward the next round of material design, synthesis and discovery, as we utilize the outcome to develop an educated recipe for materials with exotic magnetic and electronic ground states and phase transitions. In addition to our own experiments, we collaborate with numerous scientists around the world who use the samples synthesized and the single crystals grown in our lab in complementary experimental techniques, further advancing our understanding of the fundamental physics in exotic quantum materials.
The successful participants will mainly work on the design and synthesis of new materials as well as the growth of single crystals of exotic quantum materials such as high-temperature superconductors and frustrated quantum magnets, primarily by means of the optical floating zone image furnace and vertical Bridgman technique. Other methods of single crystal growth such as flux growth of single crystals, horizontal Bridgman growth, and Czochralski growth will be employed and the participant will have the opportunity to improve on and contribute to the development of a variety of new and useful single-crystal-growth methods and techniques. The applicants will also participate in the cutting and polishing of single crystal as well as various x-ray diffraction techniques and some transport measurements. Successful applicants may also accompany the group for x-ray and neutron scattering experiments to be conducted at the national laboratories.