The correlation of electrons in a solid produces a variety of states, typically through the interplay between magnetism and electrical conductance. That interplay has itself been a long-standing research topic among condensed matter physicists. But since the discovery of high-temperature superconductors, a more general interest in the Mott transition, the metal-insulator transition (MIT) in a correlated-electron system, has emerged. Close to the MIT, competition between distinct ground states gives rise to spatially extended slow density fluctuations, and coexistence of different ordered phases separated by one or more quantum critical points. Furthermore, the charge, spin, and orbital degrees of freedom, and their coupled dynamics, produce complex phases such as liquid-like, crystal-like, and liquid-crystal-like states of electrons. The behaviours of these systems present profound challenges in fundamental physics, and electronic complexity could have potential consequences for applications because in addition to spin and charge, the lattice and orbital degrees of freedoms are active, leading to large responses to small perturbations. This project will study the nature of quantum order at low temperatures in materials on the border of magnetism and close to a disorder-driven MIT. We will use charge carrier doping as a quantum tuning parameter to investigate the formation of spatially extended density fluctuations and demonstrate the implications of electronic complexity in low dimensional systems. We aim at identifying a physical picture describing the dynamics of spin and charge in materials near disorder-driven MIT's and study the most dramatic consequence of all: the possibility of extended and slow density fluctuations acting in favour of superconducting pairing.
Call for proposal
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