DOE News
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    The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
    • 2019-11-21 16:05:29
    • Article ID: 722979

    Theorists probe the relationship between ‘strange metals’ and high-temperature superconductors

    Computer simulations yield a much more accurate picture of these states of matter.

    • Credit: Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

      An illustration of a Monte Carlo simulation, where a calculation is run billions of times in slightly different ways to arrive at a range of possible results (far right), which are then averaged to determine the exact result. Each colored line represents a different run. A study at SLAC and Stanford used Monte Carlo simulations to make the first unbiased observations of a phenomenon called ‘strange metallicity’ in a model that describes correlated materials, where electrons join forces to produce unexpected phenomena such as superconductivity. (Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory).

    Strange metals make interesting bedfellows for a phenomenon known as high-temperature superconductivity, which allows materials to carry electricity with zero loss.

     Both are rule-breakers. Strange metals don’t behave like regular metals, whose electrons act  independently; instead their electrons behave in some unusual collective manner. For their part, high-temperature superconductors operate at much higher temperatures than conventional superconductors; how they do this is still unknown.

     In many high-temperature superconductors, changing the temperature or the number of free-flowing electrons in the material can flip it from a superconducting state to a strange metal state or vice versa. Scientists are trying to find out how these states are related, part of a 30-year quest to understand how high-temperature superconductors work so they can be developed for a host of potential applications, from maglev trains to perfectly efficient power transmission lines.

     In a paper published today in Science, theorists with the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences (SIMES) at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory report that they have observed strange metallicity in the Hubbard model. This is a longstanding model for simulating and describing the behavior of materials with strongly correlated electrons, meaning that the electrons join forces to produce unexpected phenomena rather than acting independently.

     Although the Hubbard model has been studied for decades, with some hints of strange metallic behavior, this was the first time strange metallicity had been seen in Monte Carlo simulations, in which billions of separate and slightly different calculations are averaged to produce an unbiased result. This is important because the physics of these systems can change drastically and without warning if any approximations are introduced.

     The SIMES team was also able to observe strange metallicity at the lowest temperatures ever explored with an unbiased method – temperatures at which the conclusions from their simulations are much more relevant for experiments.

     The scientists said their work provides a foundation for connecting theories of strange metals to models of superconductors and other strongly correlated materials.

     The research was led by Edwin Huang, a Stanford University PhD student in the group of SIMES Director and study co-author Thomas Devereaux. SIMES researcher Brian Moritz and Stanford physics student Ryan Sheppard also contributed to the study, which was funded by the DOE Office of Science. Computational work was performed on Stanford’s Sherlock computing cluster and on resources of the DOE’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center.

    SLAC is a vibrant multiprogram laboratory that explores how the universe works at the biggest, smallest and fastest scales and invents powerful tools used by scientists around the globe. With research spanning particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology, materials, chemistry, bio- and energy sciences and scientific computing, we help solve real-world problems and advance the interests of the nation.

     SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

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    Polymers get caught up in love-hate chemistry of oil and water

    Polymers get caught up in love-hate chemistry of oil and water

    Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee achieved a rare look at the inner workings of polymer self-assembly at an oil-water interface to advance materials for neuromorphic computing and bio-inspired technologies.

    New twist in artificial intelligence could enhance the prediction of fusion disruptions

    New twist in artificial intelligence could enhance the prediction of fusion disruptions

    New application of deep learning allows prediction of disruptions from raw, high-resolution data from fusion energy experiments.

    Scientists Discover New Clue Behind Age-Related Diseases and Food Spoilage

    Scientists Discover New Clue Behind Age-Related Diseases and Food Spoilage

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    Researchers Overcome the Space Between 
Protons and Neutrons to Study Heart of Matter

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    Radio waves detect particle showers in a block of plastic

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    Predicting persistent cold pool events

    Predicting persistent cold pool events

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    Design of the W7-X fusion device enables it to overcome obstacles, scientists find

    Design of the W7-X fusion device enables it to overcome obstacles, scientists find

    Advanced design of the world's largest and most powerful stellarator demonstrates the ability to moderate heat loss from the plasma that fuels fusion reactions.

    Particle beam could help map Earth's magnetic field to understand how space weather impacts the planet

    Particle beam could help map Earth's magnetic field to understand how space weather impacts the planet

    Magnetic field lines that wrap around the Earth protect our planet from cosmic rays. Researchers at PPPL have now found that beams of fast-moving particles launched toward Earth from a satellite could help map the precise shape of the field.

    Topological materials outperform through quantum periodic motion

    Topological materials outperform through quantum periodic motion

    Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have discovered that applying vibrational motion in a periodic manner may be the key to preventing dissipations of the desired electron states that would make advanced quantum computing and spintronics possible.

    January Science Snapshots

    January Science Snapshots

    Dinosaur blood vessels, giant viruses, and antibiotic-building enzymes


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    Register to Join a Special April 16 Media Tour of a Telescope Instrument that Will Create a 3D Map of Millions of Galaxies

    Register to Join a Special April 16 Media Tour of a Telescope Instrument that Will Create a 3D Map of Millions of Galaxies

    Members of the media are invited to attend a mid-April dedication of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), which is scheduled to begin its five-year mission to construct a 3D map of the universe in the coming months.

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    Fermi Award Now Open for Nominations

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    The U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs and Outreach department hosted Computer Science for All -- Coding and Beyond, in December as a part of the Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago initiative.

    ORNL, TVA sign agreement to collaborate on advanced reactor technologies

    ORNL, TVA sign agreement to collaborate on advanced reactor technologies

    The U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Tennessee Valley Authority have signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate a new generation of flexible, cost-effective advanced nuclear reactors.

    Argonne leads award-winning collaboration with Kairos Power that unveils new simulation of nuclear power plants

    Argonne leads award-winning collaboration with Kairos Power that unveils new simulation of nuclear power plants

    Argonne scientists won a 2019 R&D 100 award for collaborating with Kairos Power to create software that simulates entire nuclear power plants.

    Rare-earths experts at CMI debut a unique new research capability

    Rare-earths experts at CMI debut a unique new research capability

    Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Critical Materials Institute have a new and more accurate tool--a start-to-finish, controlled atmosphere materials processing system.

    Paul K. Kearns named 2020 FLC Laboratory Director of the Year

    Paul K. Kearns named 2020 FLC Laboratory Director of the Year

    Argonne National Laboratory Director Paul Kearns awarded Laboratory Director of the Year by The Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC).

    Great Neck South Wins Long Island Regional Science Bowls

    Great Neck South Wins Long Island Regional Science Bowls

    UPTON, NY--On Thursday, Jan. 30 and Friday, Jan. 31, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory held two back-to-back installments of the Long Island Science Bowl, a regional branch of DOE's 30th annual National Science Bowl(r) (NSB). In this fast-paced question-and-answer showdown, teams of students from across Long Island were tested on a range of science disciplines including biology, chemistry, Earth science, physics, energy, and math.

    Researchers seek to improve hydropower, lower electricity costs

    Researchers seek to improve hydropower, lower electricity costs

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded nearly $1 million to a research team led by Missouri University of Science and Technology to study ways to better harness the power of water as an energy source. About 10% of electricity in the U.S. is created by moving water, or hydropower, according to the DOE's Hydropower Vision report, which also found great potential in improving hydropower systems to meet more U.


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    Harvesting Energy from Light using Bio-inspired Artificial Cells

    Harvesting Energy from Light using Bio-inspired Artificial Cells

    Scientists designed and connected two different artificial cells to each other to produce molecules called ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

    Engineering Living Scaffolds for Building Materials

    Engineering Living Scaffolds for Building Materials

    Bone and mollusk shells are composite systems that combine living cells and inorganic components. This allows them to regenerate and change structure while also being very strong and durable. Borrowing from this amazing complexity, researchers have been exploring a new class of materials called engineered living materials (ELMs).

    Excavating Quantum Information Buried in Noise

    Excavating Quantum Information Buried in Noise

    Researchers developed two new methods to assess and remove error in how scientists measure quantum systems. By reducing quantum "noise" - uncertainty inherent to quantum processes - these new methods improve accuracy and precision.

    How Electrons Move in a Catastrophe

    How Electrons Move in a Catastrophe

    Lanthanum strontium manganite (LSMO) is a widely applicable material, from magnetic tunnel junctions to solid oxide fuel cells. However, when it gets thin, its behavior changes for the worse. The reason why was not known. Now, using two theoretical methods, a team determined what happens.

    When Ions and Molecules Cluster

    When Ions and Molecules Cluster

    How an ion behaves when isolated within an analytical instrument can differ from how it behaves in the environment. Now, Xue-Bin Wang at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory devised a way to bring ions and molecules together in clusters to better discover their properties and predict their behavior.

    Tune in to Tetrahedral Superstructures

    Tune in to Tetrahedral Superstructures

    Shape affects how the particles fit together and, in turn, the resulting material. For the first time, a team observed the self-assembly of nanoparticles with tetrahedral shapes.

    Tracing Interstellar Dust Back to the Solar System's Formation

    Tracing Interstellar Dust Back to the Solar System's Formation

    This study is the first to confirm dust particles pre-dating the formation of our solar system. Further study of these materials will enable a deeper understanding of the processes that formed and have since altered them.

    Investigating Materials that Can Go the Distance in Fusion Reactors

    Investigating Materials that Can Go the Distance in Fusion Reactors

    Future fusion reactors will require materials that can withstand extreme operating conditions, including being bombarded by high-energy neutrons at high temperatures. Scientists recently irradiated titanium diboride (TiB2) in the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) to better understand the effects of fusion neutrons on performance.

    Better 3-D Imaging of Tumors in the Breast with Less Radiation

    Better 3-D Imaging of Tumors in the Breast with Less Radiation

    In breast cancer screening, an imaging technique based on nuclear medicine is currently being used as a successful secondary screening tool alongside mammography to improve the accuracy of the diagnosis. Now, a team is hoping to improve this imaging technique.

    Microbes are Metabolic Specialists

    Microbes are Metabolic Specialists

    Scientists can use genetic information to measure if microbes in the environment can perform specific ecological roles. Researchers recently analyzed the genomes of over 6,000 microbial species.


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