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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    New Science Behind Algae-based Flip-flops

    New Science Behind Algae-based Flip-flops

    UC San Diego researchers formulated polyurethane foams, made from algae oil, to meet commercial specifications for midsole shoes and the foot-bed of flip-flops. Their latest result, in a series of recent research publications, offers a complete solution to the plastics problem--at least for polyurethanes.

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    Story Tips: Pandemic impact, root studies, neutrons confirm, lab on a crystal and modeling fusion

    ORNL Story Tips: Pandemic impact, root studies, neutrons confirm, lab on a crystal and modeling fusion


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    Wayne State receives DOE grant to develop catalysts for renewable energy generation

    Wayne State receives DOE grant to develop catalysts for renewable energy generation

    This research will focus on the development of efficient electrochemical systems for energy generation and storage. The proposed work will have a significant impact on the development of efficient energy conversion systems.

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    Natalie Roe Named Berkeley Lab's Associate Director for Physical Sciences

    Natalie Roe, who joined Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) as a postdoctoral fellow in 1989 and has served as Physics Division director since 2012, has been named the Lab's Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) for the Physical Sciences Area. Her appointment was approved by the University of California. The announcement follows an international search.

    Brookhaven Lab Partners in New $40 M Research Center to Convert Sunlight to Liquid Fuels

    Brookhaven Lab Partners in New $40 M Research Center to Convert Sunlight to Liquid Fuels

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    Fermilab scientist Laura Fields receives $2.5 million DOE award to study beams of shape-shifting ghost particles

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    Laura Fields has won an Early Career Research Award from the Department of Energy to help physicists better understand the composition of neutrino beams used by Fermilab experiments. Her work will help gather and validate results that could shed light on why the universe consists of something rather than nothing.

    Summer Sundays Go Virtual

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    rookhaven Lab is moving its Summer Sunday program to an online format for 2020. Over three Sundays this summer, the Lab will host a series of live, virtual events for everyone to interact with the Lab in a new way. Each event will feature a guided tour of a Brookhaven Lab facility followed by a live Q&A with a panel comprised of the facility's scientists.

    Geothermal Brines Could Propel California's Green Economy

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    Magnum Venus Products licenses ORNL co-developed additive manufacturing technologies

    Magnum Venus Products licenses ORNL co-developed additive manufacturing technologies

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    Berkeley Lab Part of Multi-Institutional Team Awarded $60M for Solar Fuels Research

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    Will Fox wins 2020 John Dawson Award for producing new insights into astrophysical shockwaves

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    Jefferson Lab ES&H Deputy Director Receives Health Physics Society Honor

    Jefferson Lab ES&H Deputy Director Receives Health Physics Society Honor

    Bob May's career-long aspiration has been to keep people from all walks of life and in different work environments safe from radiation in the workplace. Now, the deputy director of Environment, Safety and Health at the U.S. Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has been honored for his dedication to the field by being named a fellow of the Health Physics Society.


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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

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    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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