Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ORBITMOL Report Summary

Project ID: 339312
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: United Kingdom

Mid-Term Report Summary - ORBITMOL ('Orbital molecules' - self-organised states for orbitronics)

‘Orbital molecules’ are made up of coupled orbital states on several metal ions within a solid such as a transition metal oxide. Spin-singlet dimers are known in several materials, but recent discoveries of more exotic species such as 18-electron heptamers in AlV2O4 and 3-atom trimerons in magnetite (Fe3O4) have focused attention on orbital molecules. We are exploring chemical tuning of orbital molecule self-organisation, discovery of novel orbital molecule orders in frustrated networks, and investigations of trimeron glass and liquid phases in magnetite. So far we have synthesised several new vanadium-based materials that show orbital molecule orders. We have also characterised how trimeron order in magnetite is tuned by varying temperature and through doping. A highlight is that a natural mineral sample has the same complex electronic order as pure synthetic magnetite. The natural sample contains dopants such as Al, Si, Mg and Mn at comparable concentrations to extraterrestrial magnetites, as reported from studies of meteorites. Much extraterrestrial magnetite exists at temperatures below the Verwey transition and hence our study demonstrates that the low temperature phase of magnetite represents the most complex long-range electronic order known to occur naturally.

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United Kingdom
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