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Spin and Orbital Physics : Research of Advanced New Oxides

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Understanding transition metal oxides

Oxides containing transition metal oxides exhibit remarkable properties from superconductivity to ferroelectricity, triggering intensive research work. To advance the current understanding of these extraordinary materials, new approaches are required for the next generation of researchers.

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To achieve this goal, seven academic institutions have collaborated and created a multidisciplinary environment to embed a pool of young researchers for innovative research in transition metal oxides. The 'Spin and orbital physics’: Research of advanced new oxides' (SOPRANO) Initial Training Network (ITN) offered doctoral students opportunities to address issues raised by their thesis research from a broader viewpoint, by combining the experience of solid state chemists and solid state physicists with a unique number of experimental techniques and theoretical approaches. Specifically, 27 doctoral students and 7 postdoctoral researchers were awarded a Marie Curie fellowship to conduct their research in one of the participating institutions. In addition, an exchange programme contributed to the validation of scientific results by supporting short stays with the institutions taking part in the network. In the SOPRANO ITN, training through research offered an ideal environment for achieving peer recognition. The fellows have worked on a large variety of topics (solid- state synthesis by different techniques, structural characterization by X-ray and neutron diffraction, and by transmission electron microscopy, macroscopic properties investigation such as magnetism, transport, spectroscopic analysis by X-Ray absorption, photoemission or Raman spectroscopy, and theoretical investigation through band structure calculations), and SOPRANO research results have appeared in numerous publications in eminent scientific journals. The main result of SOPRANO is that the fellows now all share the common scientific language built from the experimental techniques and from a common theoretical background for these topics (relationship between the spin and orbital state and the environment of the transition metal cation, importance of the electronic correlations, interplay between structural, electronic and magnetic properties, interactions between carriers and phonons...). This common language and large spectrum of properties, techniques and materials, has been a fundamental part of their training and will play an important role in their future career. Project partners brought together some of Europe's top scholars in solid-state chemistry and solid-state physics and overcame the fragmentation of existing transition metal oxides research, offering a critical mass of young researchers. Young scientists trained in the network are currently pursuing a career in academia.

Keywords

Transition metal oxides, orbital physics, magnetism, superconductivity, ferroelectricity, multiferroïcity, thermoelectricity, magnetocalorics, solid-state chemistry, electrochemistry

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