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Flocking Together, Flying Solo

Much like a flock of birds in motion need to know what their neighbors are doing, electrons and magnetic moments in a solid need to interact if they are to successfully order or arrange themselves into a new state.  If one or two birds are missing, the unit can still function, but if too many are removed, it becomes hard to coordinate the flock.  Studying a magnetic compound containing cerium, scientists found that the magnetism on cerium is like rare birds that can fly as part of a flock even when most of the group is gone.  Researchers found that they could remove between 80 and 95% of the cerium atoms and still have the remaining cerium not only communicate, but also enter into a complex, magnetically ordered state.  Coherent communication between such dilute cerium is unprecedented and hints at more robust communication mechanisms (interactions) than originally imagined.

Highlight Date: 
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Article Title: 

Remarkably Robust and Correlated Coherence and Antiferromagnetism in(Ce1−xLax)Cu2Ge2

Author(s): 
Halyna Hodovanets, Sergey L. Bud’ko, Warren E. Straszheim, Valentin Taufour, Eundeouk Mun, Hyunsoo Kim, Rebecca Flint, and Paul C. Canfield
Article Link: 
Journal Name: 
Physical Review Letters
Volume: 
114
Year: 
2015
Page Number(s): 
236601