"Materials where conduction electrons experience strong correlation in their dynamics, are both a challenge to the current quantum theories of matter and a mine for possible technological applications. High-temperature copper- and iron-based superconductors and heavy-fermions with large thermoelectric responses are examples of materials with high potential impact on energy transmission and storage technologies or high-magnetic field applications.
Recently, the discovery that the well known atomic ""Hund's rules"" have a surprisingly great and diversified influence on the conduction electrons in d-electron materials changed the traditional view of electronic correlation as a competition between kinetic energy and Coulomb repulsion, adding Hund's exchange energy as a third axis.
This project, by using state-of-the-art computational techniques for correlated materials, aims at clarifying the influence of the new Hund's driven mechanisms as possible enhancers of high-Tc superconductivity and of thermoelectric and thermomagnetic properties.
In particular Hund's coupling can induce the coexistence of weakly and strongly correlated conduction electrons, culminating in orbital-selective Mott insulating states or in heavy-fermionic physics.
We then aim at the creation of a new class of transition-metal (d-electron) compounds reproducing the properties of the more exotic rare-earth (f-electron) heavy-fermion materials, in a tunable way. Iron-based superconductors exhibit some of these properties and will be used as a starting point for the search and exploration of new and enhanced high-temperature superconductors and thermoelectric/thermomagnetic d-electron materials.
An exciting application is also proposed, motivating a possible resurgence of technological attention towards thermomagnetic materials: the coating of high-power cables in thermomagnetic materials for self-cooling, and potentially room-temperature superconduction."
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