Researchers have discovered that barium–iron–nickel–arsenic superconductors clearly deviate from the famous Ginzburg-Landau Theory developed in the 1960’s. According to this theory, superconductors should show a linear relationship between the magnetic field at which superconductivity is suppressed (known as the upper critical field) and the direction of the magnetic field. Using single crystals, researchers performed detailed experiments of the upper critical field as a function of temperature and the direction of the magnetic field.
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Researchers have discovered a new family of stable quasicrystals made from only two elements, a rare earth and cadmium. The family includes the first magnetic binary quasicrystals. Quasicrystals are metallic alloys that lack the periodic order seen in conventional crystals. Instead, they exhibit aperiodic, long-range order and have “forbidden” rotational symmetries (for example, five-fold).
Nanoscale twin boundaries — where one side of the boundary is a mirror image of the other — are not straight as thought, but instead have "kinks". Researchers used a newly developed transmission electron microscopy technique to resolve the orientation of features along these boundaries with 1 nanometer resolution. Twin boundaries that appear straight at lower resolution, actually contain many kink-like steps. These kinks are distributed non-uniformly from twin boundary to twin boundary.
A distinct anomaly exists within a series of iron arsenic superconductors, possibly indicating a new form of iron-based superconductivity.
For the first time, researchers can now both explain and predict the behavior of different materials while they are being pulled apart. Some materials are ductile, meaning they will deform without losing their toughness, and others are brittle. The results explain even the unexpected ductility of a material within a class of rare-earth-containing materials that are otherwise known to be brittle. To predict the behavior requires two maps. The first map reveals whether a system has the ability to slip in a particular
A study of thermoelectrics, materials that convert heat to electricity, demonstrates the importance of characterizing materials using several different methods. According to Vegard’s Law of Alloys, the size of a crystalline lattice (lattice parameter) changes linearly with composition. It is actually not a law, but an empirical observation that has been found to hold true for a majority of alloys.
Scientists have discovered a fascinating secret about praseodymium aluminide. When PrAl2 is cooled, its crystal structure changes from high symmetry cubic to low symmetry tetragonal below -400 °F (32 K). However, when the cooling is done in a high magnetic field, the material retains the cubic structure. This change is not observed in other rare-earth aluminides. Furthermore, PrAl2 has an anomalous heat capacity per unit mass at low temperatures. It is 10x higher than pure praseodymium.
A new series of catalysts is able to selectively make “left-handed” or “right-handed” nitrogen-containing compounds known as amines. Left-handed and right-handed molecules contain the same components, but are mirror images of each other.
Scientists have discovered that the rare earth element dysprosium grown on graphene — a one atom thick layer of carbon — forms triangular-shaped islands, whereas other magnetic metals form hexagonal-shaped islands. Based on the hexagonal closed packed (hcp) bulk crystal structure of dysprosium, hexagonal islands would also have been expected. Researchers used scanning tunneling microscopy to identify the crystal structure of dysprosium on graphene. The results indicate that dysprosium grows as face centered cubic (fcc) crystals on graphene rather than hcp.
A recent discovery suggested to be a universal behavior of superconductors does not require a fancy new explanation; it elegantly falls out from the BCS theory of superconductivity, first published in 1957.The universal behavior is scaling relationship, known as Homes scaling, that relates the penetration depth of the magnetic field to the superconducting transition temperature and conductivity. It is valid over many orders of magnitude from the so-called “dirty”, short mean-free path, superconductors up to as clean materials as one can synthesize.