The way that materials behave—are they magnetically complex, are they superconductors, are they structurally robust—can simply be thought of as a response to what the electrons in the material are doing. Controlling the atoms’ arrangement to one another in a crystal lattice changes where the electrons reside and how they interact with one another. If we can control the atomic structure and makeup, we can then manipulate electronic function. Exploiting this fact is particularly important in materials where strong electronic correlations are present. In these systems, the nearly degenerate energies of the spin, charge, and orbital order parameters mean that even slight variations to a single parameter can have a dramatic impact on what functional phenomena emerge.
I will describe our recent development of new structural manipulation approaches that permit us access to never before possible lattice symmetries and atomic compositions in single crystal correlated oxides. You will see how these approaches are facilitating the rational design of orbital populations, spin anisotropy, crystal structure phase, and disorder-driven quantum critical behavior. We will close with a discussion of how this might impact our ability to probe fundamental physics problems in correlated materials and speculate on enabled functional applications.
Supported by the US DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division