The origin of the metal-to-insulator transition in a key material system was revealed by nanostructures designed to decouple simultaneous phase transitions. This approach could lead to new materials with emergent physics and unique electronic properties, supporting broader research efforts to revolutionize modern electronics. Read more »
ALS Work Using RSXD
Resonant soft x-ray diffraction (RSXD) probes the periodic order of electronic and magnetic states in a material by diffracting x-rays (wavelength ~ 1–3 nm) into patterns that are characteristic of the electronic order. The diffraction patterns depend on the x-ray wavelength and polarization to reveal (1) which elements, valence states, electronic orbitals, or magnetic states are ordered; (2) how they are arranged (direction, periodicity, dimensionality); and (3) their symmetry (e.g., chiral arrangements).
Electronic vortex structures have been found to emerge from engineered samples of alternating complex-oxide layers. Resonant soft x-ray diffraction (RSXD) studies using circularly polarized x-rays revealed the vortices’ left- and right-handedness. The intriguing results open the door to electrically controllable chiral devices. Read more »
Scientists used spiraling x-rays at the ALS to observe, for the first time, a property that gives handedness to swirling electric patterns—dubbed polar vortices—in a synthetically layered material. Read more »
Resonant soft x-ray diffraction studies of a cuprate high-temperature superconductor revealed a 3D, long-range charge order—the first of its kind ever reported in a cuprate—that competes with superconductivity. A better understanding of such phenomena could help in the design of more robust superconductors with higher transition temperatures. Read more »