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SEPnet Atomic and Condensed Matter research theme, 27 June 2011
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SEPnet Atomic and Condensed Matter research theme, 27 June 2011


Presentation giving an overview of the SEPnet Atomic and Condensed Matter research theme at the SEPnet-wide video-conference event held on

Presentation giving an overview of the SEPnet Atomic and Condensed Matter research theme at the SEPnet-wide video-conference event held on

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  • Let me first thank James for organising this event and all the members of the SEPnet Atomic and Condensed Matter theme who have contributed to this presentation. I can certainly not do justice in 10 minutes to the breadth and depth of research going on across the research theme. Hopefully the scratch of the surface that I will offer today will give you a flavour of some of it. Please accept my pre-emptive apologies if I flash through some of my slides too quickly for you to absorb some of the information. This presentation will be made available on the ACM blog. There you can also browse the websites of individual research groups which contain a lot more information that I will not be able to even mention at all.
  • ACM is a very large theme composed of research groups in six separate institutions across the South-East of England.We pursue a very broad research agenda, stretchingfrom soft matter through the solid state and quantum fluids to ultra-cold atoms and ions.
  • The University of Kent’s Advanced Battery Group provides another example of a research programmethat is targeted for maximum economic and societal impact.
  • In addition to their research activities, our research groups run some state-of-the art scientific facilities including the London Ultra-Low Temperature Laboratory, the Advanced Technology Institute and the Mountbatten nanofabrication facility. Moreover the University of London, of which Royal Holloway and Queen Mary form part, runs the London Centre for Nanotechnology and the Science and Technology Facilities Council operates the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, from which I am speaking, which hosts the Diamond Light Source, the ISIS spallation neutron and muon source and the Central Laser Facility. RAL is one of our associate organisations and a major contributor to the SEPnet ACM effort.
  • In connection with these facilities, this year saw the takeoff of a major new initiative by SEPnet ACM, the Hubbard Theory Consortium.It brings together theorists at Royal Holloway, the University of Kent and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology to address the challenging problem of strong correlations in close collaboration with experimentalists at some of these top facilities. The involvement of the KIT emphasizes the outward-looking nature of this and other SEPnetinitiatives: we use SEPnet to raise our game and reach critical mass, but seek collaborators internationally.
  • Here is one example of theoretical research carried out by members of the Hubbard Theory Consortium that addresses recent condensed matter experiments. It concerns measurements of the spectrum of one the new iron-based high-temperature superconductors.The measurements were carried out using two different techniques: neutron scattering and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy. Neutron scattering couples to the spin degrees of freedom of electrons in the material, while ARPES couples to the electron charge. The two techniques are therefore complementary and reveal different aspects of the relevant physics.The collaboration led by SEPnet fellow Matthias Eschrig showed how a simple theoretical model could be used to relate these two different types of measurement, providing a clue to the pairing mechanism in these new materials. The neutron experiments were carried out at ISIS in the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, while the ARPES experiments were carried out elsewhere. However this will not be so for long: the Diamond light source (which can be seen here, in the background) is developing its new ARPES beamline which will become operational in a couple of years’ time.
  • The outward-looking nature of the consortium goes beyond seeking collaborations - we aim to be of genuine service to the wider physics community. This has included the organisation of the very successful Condensed Matter in the City summer programme and an innovative series of international Advanced Working Groups.
  • The Mountbatten facility also offers unique opportunities for collaboration.Here is a picture of an atom chip resulting from a collaboration bringing together the expertises in nanofabrication and ultra-cold ions in Southampton and Sussex, respectively. Such 2D lattice offers novel opportunities for quantum information processing compared to traditional, one-dimensional ion traps. This new collaboration is only just starting and we are exploring avenues to develop it further.
  • To explore further opportunities and to kick-start such collaborations, the research theme has made available a small grant scheme available to members of SEPnet member and associate organisations. The first SEPnet ACM activity funded in this way has been a meeting to seed some more collaborations in the topic of nanomaterials for energy (contact Otto Muskens if you are interested). The remit of the call is very broad, so please have a look in case you can use it to fund your latest research ideas.
  • Now let me reveal what the main asset of out research theme is: our students.Over the last couple of years, we have granted 16 SEPnet PhD studentships in the ACM theme, in two rounds. Each SEPnet PhD student has an advisor in a SEPnet member institution and a co-advisor in a different SEPnet member or associate node. The first round linked Southampton, Surrey, Royal Holloway and Queen Mary. By the end of the second round the network of collaborations spanned the whole network.
  • Here is an example of one such collaboration, involving theorists and experimentalists at the University of Kent and at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in a search for a new route to create multiferroic materials.Unfortunately there is no way I can tell you about all the other exciting projects our young collaborators are driving forward...
  • ...soI won’t take any more of your time. You can find more information on our research theme blog and on the individual research group pages that are linked form there.I now leave you with two of these real protagonists of SEPnet ACM research, Eva Zarkadoula from Queen Mary and Andrew Brown from Surrey.Thanks for your attention!


  • 1. Atomic and Condensed Matter across SEPnet
    Jorge QuintanillaACM steering committee research  ACM  blog
  • 2. Biodiagnostics; Nanophysics and Nanotechnology; Quantum Devices; Quantum Fluids and Solids; Quantum Matter; Theory of Condensed Matter and Cold Atoms
    Soft Condensed Matter Physics Group
    Organic coatings; Solid/Liquid interfaces; Colloidal theory; Colloids and emulsions; Liquid transport in polymers; Cementitious systems
    Functional Materials Group
    Functional materials; Local structure; Materials for nuclear energy; Nanoscale materials; Organic semiconductors
    Amorphous and Nanostructured Solids; Soft Functional Materials; Theory and Modelling of Materials
    Condensed Matter Physics Group
    Functional Optical Materials; Inorganic Colloidal Nanocrystals; Hybrid Optoelectronics; Magnetism & Superconductivity; Nanomaterials; Quantum Control; Quantum Nanophysics and Matter Wave Interferometry; Spintronics; Semiconductor lasers; THz spectroscopy; Theory of light-matter coupling in nanostructures; Ultrafast laser X-rays
    Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
    Quantum, Light & Matter group
    Theoretical quantum phsyics; Ion quantum technology; Physics of molecular ions; Single ion cavity QED; atom and ion chips
  • 3. Integrated NanophotonicsGroup - Southampton
    Laser treatment of endothelial cells
    using plasmonicnanoparticles
    with A. Kanaras and School of Medicine
    NanoLett. 11, 1358 (2011)
    Dr. Otto L. Muskens
    Plasmonic nanoantenna switching devices
    Nano Lett. ASAP (2011)
    Nano Lett. 10, 1741 (2010)
    Ultrafast control of light by semiconductor nanowires
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 143902 (2011)
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6. Functional Materials Group
    Condensed Matter Physics Group
    Eschrig (RHUL)
    Castelnovo (RHUL)
    Quintanilla (Kent)
    Schmalian (Karlsruhe)
  • 7.
  • 8. Service to the UK community:
    Summer programme: (Funding: SEPnet)
    Condensed Matter in the City IJuly 2010 – London, Egham and RAL
    Condensed Matter in the City IIJune 2011 – London, Egham and RAL
    Advanced Working Groups: (Funding: EPSRC)
    “Advanced Working Group on Monopoles in Spin Ice”, RHUL, October 2010
    “Advanced Working Group on Experimental Probes for Topological Materials”, RHUL, February 201
  • 9. 2-D Ion Trap Arrays
    W. Hensinger (Sussex)
    M. Kraft (Southampton)
    AMO Group
    Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
    Quantum, Light & Matter group
  • 10. Call for more SEPnet ACM activities research  ACM  blog
  • 11. SEPnet PhD studentships
    1st round
    2nd round
    ( )
  • 12. Dilute Magnetic Ferroelectrics: A New Route to Multiferroics?
    PhD Student: Robert Lennox, Supervisors: Dr D. C. Arnold (Kent) and Dr N. Gidopoulos (RAL)
    Multiferroic materials exhibit both magnetic and ferroelectric ordering with potential uses including sensors and memory devices which will be faster than current commercial memory. However, few single phase multiferroics are known since the two order parameters tend to be mutually exclusive.
    Current Results
    Doping small amounts of Mn or Fe into the wide band gap semiconductor ZnO leads to RT ferromagnetic ordering. We aim to replicate this in wideband gap ferroelectrics to synthesis new multiferroic materials
    We have synthesised both Fe and Mn doped BaTiO3 with dopant levels 1–5 %. However in all cases we see the immergence of an undesirable hexagonal BaTiO3 phase.
    PND data indicating mixed phase material with 42 % tetragonal and 58 % hexagonal phases
    HRPD data
    2 % Fe
    Schematic representation of the spatially separated Mn ions (triangles) in ZnO lattice
    We believe this is vacancy driven by the replacement of Ti4+ with M3+. Investigating co-doping i.e. Ba1-xLaxTi1-xMxO3 materials and doping with Ru4+
    T. DietlNature Materials2, 646 (2003),
    P. Sharma et al. Nature Materials 2, 673 (2003)
  • 13. More information: research  ACM  blog