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Condensed-Matter Physics

Welcome to the Nature Communications Editors’ Highlights webpage on condensed-matter physics. Each month our editors select a small number of Articles recently published in Nature Communications that they believe are particularly interesting or important.

The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the area of condensed-matter physics at Nature Communications. Each editor handles a different area of this research, as described below:

Richard Brierley handles manuscripts on fundamental condensed-matter physics and solid state qubits.

Wei Fan handles manuscripts on topological matter and superconductivity.

Yu Gong handles manuscripts on magnetic materials and spintronics.

Silvia Milana handles manuscripts on physics of two-dimensional materials and van der Waals heterostructures.

 

Richard Brierley

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Local and reversible oxidation is used to exploit the very different properties of oxygen and vacancy ordered oxides. Here the authors directly image and make use of anisotropic migration velocities of oxygen in SrCoOx to create 3D meso-structures of those two phases by ionic liquid gating.

    • Bin Cui
    • , Peter Werner
    • , Tianping Ma
    • , Xiaoyan Zhong
    • , Zechao Wang
    • , James Mark Taylor
    • , Yuechen Zhuang
    •  &  Stuart S. P. Parkin
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The family of pyrochlore complex oxides includes many materials of fundamental or practical interest, such as spin ices and dielectrics. Trump et al. show that flexibility of the pyrochlores’ structure leads to local displacements that explain some of their unusual physical properties.

    • B. A. Trump
    • , S. M. Koohpayeh
    • , K. J. T. Livi
    • , J.-J. Wen
    • , K. E. Arpino
    • , Q. M. Ramasse
    • , R. Brydson
    • , M. Feygenson
    • , H. Takeda
    • , M. Takigawa
    • , K. Kimura
    • , S. Nakatsuji
    • , C. L. Broholm
    •  &  T. M. McQueen
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Nitrogen-vacancy centres in diamond are highly sensitive to their environment, making them well suited to quantum sensing applications. Here, the authors demonstrate the capabilities of a scanning nitrogen-vacancy sensor for nanoscale measurements of electrical conductivity.

    • Amila Ariyaratne
    • , Dolev Bluvstein
    • , Bryan A. Myers
    •  &  Ania C. Bleszynski Jayich
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The electronic behaviour of complex oxides such as LaNiO3 depends on many intrinsic and extrinsic factors, making it challenging to identify microscopic mechanisms. Here the authors demonstrate the influence of oxygen vacancies on the thickness-dependent metal-insulator transition of LaNiO3 films.

    • M. Golalikhani
    • , Q. Lei
    • , R. U. Chandrasena
    • , L. Kasaei
    • , H. Park
    • , J. Bai
    • , P. Orgiani
    • , J. Ciston
    • , G. E. Sterbinsky
    • , D. A. Arena
    • , P. Shafer
    • , E. Arenholz
    • , B. A. Davidson
    • , A. J. Millis
    • , A. X. Gray
    •  &  X. X. Xi
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Competing interactions in frustrated magnets give rise to complex emergent phenomena, which challenge a full microscopic understanding but invite comparison to other systems. Bovo et al. find an analogy to classical gases and identify special temperatures that reveal fine details of the microscopic Hamiltonian.

    • L. Bovo
    • , M. Twengström
    • , O. A. Petrenko
    • , T. Fennell
    • , M. J. P. Gingras
    • , S. T. Bramwell
    •  &  P. Henelius
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Experimental search for high-temperature ferroelectric perovskites is challenging due to the vast chemical space and lack of predictive guidelines. Here the authors demonstrate a two-step machine learning approach to sequentially guide experiments in search of promising perovskites with high ferroelectric Curie temperature.

    • Prasanna V. Balachandran
    • , Benjamin Kowalski
    • , Alp Sehirlioglu
    •  &  Turab Lookman

Wei Fan

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The defining quantities of topological materials—the topological invariants—are often difficult to calculate. Here, Song et al. report a simplified method to calculate both the symmetry data and the topological invariants for arbitrary gapped band structure with time-reversal symmetry.

    • Zhida Song
    • , Tiantian Zhang
    • , Zhong Fang
    •  &  Chen Fang
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Transition metal dichalcogenides may host exotic topological phases in the two-dimensional limit, but detailed atomic properties have rarely been explored. Here, Ugeda et al. observe edge-states at the interface between a single layer quantum spin Hall insulator 1T′-WSe2 and a semiconductor 1H-WSe2.

    • Miguel M. Ugeda
    • , Artem Pulkin
    • , Shujie Tang
    • , Hyejin Ryu
    • , Quansheng Wu
    • , Yi Zhang
    • , Dillon Wong
    • , Zahra Pedramrazi
    • , Ana Martín-Recio
    • , Yi Chen
    • , Feng Wang
    • , Zhi-Xun Shen
    • , Sung-Kwan Mo
    • , Oleg V. Yazyev
    •  &  Michael F. Crommie
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Material with both topological state and magnetic order remains rare. Here, Ueda et al. observe a sizable spontaneous Hall conductivity with minimal magnetization at a few Kelvin below the all-in-all-out magnetic ordering temperature in the predicted magnetic Weyl semimetal R2Ir2O7.

    • Kentaro Ueda
    • , Ryoma Kaneko
    • , Hiroaki Ishizuka
    • , Jun Fujioka
    • , Naoto Nagaosa
    •  &  Yoshinori Tokura
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The interplay between nematic, antiferromagnetic order and superconductivity in the iron pnictide superconductors remains obscured. Here, Wang et al. demonstrate well-separated nematic and Neel transition temperatures near optimal superconductivity in NaFe1−xNixAs and uncover local distortions which could account for rotational symmetry breaking common in iron pnictides.

    • Weiyi Wang
    • , Yu Song
    • , Chongde Cao
    • , Kuo-Feng Tseng
    • , Thomas Keller
    • , Yu Li
    • , L. W. Harriger
    • , Wei Tian
    • , Songxue Chi
    • , Rong Yu
    • , Andriy H. Nevidomskyy
    •  &  Pengcheng Dai
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Small structural distortions may lead to dramatic modification in the electronic states in strong correlated materials. Here, Yim et al. image a strain-stabilized smectic electronic order in LiFeAs with both broken rotational symmetry and reduced translational symmetry.

    • Chi Ming Yim
    • , Christopher Trainer
    • , Ramakrishna Aluru
    • , Shun Chi
    • , Walter N. Hardy
    • , Ruixing Liang
    • , Doug Bonn
    •  &  Peter Wahl
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Quantum condensates may penetrate from one material to another due to the proximity effect. Here, Stolyarov et al. report the spatial evolution of quantum vortices from a superconducting Nb layer to a 50 nanometer thick diffusive metallic Cu-film, which is quite thick away from the interface.

    • Vasily S. Stolyarov
    • , Tristan Cren
    • , Christophe Brun
    • , Igor A. Golovchanskiy
    • , Olga V. Skryabina
    • , Daniil I. Kasatonov
    • , Mikhail M. Khapaev
    • , Mikhail Yu. Kupriyanov
    • , Alexander A. Golubov
    •  &  Dimitri Roditchev

Yu Gong

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The spin-orbit torque (SOT) induced magnetic switching makes metal/magnetic insulators bilayers preferred in the energy efficient spintronic applications. Here the authors show SOT switching in W/TmIG bilayers and reveal the dimension crossover of SOT as a function of TmIG thickness.

    • Qiming Shao
    • , Chi Tang
    • , Guoqiang Yu
    • , Aryan Navabi
    • , Hao Wu
    • , Congli He
    • , Junxue Li
    • , Pramey Upadhyaya
    • , Peng Zhang
    • , Seyed Armin Razavi
    • , Qing Lin He
    • , Yawen Liu
    • , Pei Yang
    • , Se Kwon Kim
    • , Cheng Zheng
    • , Yizhou Liu
    • , Lei Pan
    • , Roger K. Lake
    • , Xiufeng Han
    • , Yaroslav Tserkovnyak
    • , Jing Shi
    •  &  Kang L. Wang
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Anomalous Hall effect (AHE) in antiferromagnets is intriguing and requires further understanding. Here the authors report large AHE in a chiral-lattice antiferromagnet CoNb3S6 of which the origin can be due to complex magnetic texture or broken time-reversal symmetry on the electronic band structure.

    • Nirmal J. Ghimire
    • , A. S. Botana
    • , J. S. Jiang
    • , Junjie Zhang
    • , Y.-S. Chen
    •  &  J. F. Mitchell
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    High-order harmonic generation (HHG) has been explored in different kinds of solids except magnetic materials. Here the authors theoretically predict that the HHG in ferromagnetic Fe thin films is sensitive to the spin–orbit coupling and carries band structure information.

    • G. P. Zhang
    • , M. S. Si
    • , M. Murakami
    • , Y. H. Bai
    •  &  Thomas F. George
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Probing spin pumping in the terahertz regime allows one to reveal its initial elementary steps. Here, the authors show that the formation of the spin Seebeck current in YIG/Pt critically relies on hot thermalized metal electrons because they impinge on the metal-insulator interface with maximum noise.

    • Tom S. Seifert
    • , Samridh Jaiswal
    • , Joseph Barker
    • , Sebastian T. Weber
    • , Ilya Razdolski
    • , Joel Cramer
    • , Oliver Gueckstock
    • , Sebastian F. Maehrlein
    • , Lukas Nadvornik
    • , Shun Watanabe
    • , Chiara Ciccarelli
    • , Alexey Melnikov
    • , Gerhard Jakob
    • , Markus Münzenberg
    • , Sebastian T. B. Goennenwein
    • , Georg Woltersdorf
    • , Baerbel Rethfeld
    • , Piet W. Brouwer
    • , Martin Wolf
    • , Mathias Kläui
    •  &  Tobias Kampfrath
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Persistent spin texture (PST) can generate fascinating physics that is promising for spintronics applications but requires non-trivial sample design. Here the authors alternatively propose that a class of materials has intrinsic PST enforced by the nonsymmorphic space group symmetry of the crystal.

    • L. L. Tao
    •  &  Evgeny Y. Tsymbal
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction (DMI) is crucial to the stabilization of skyrmions but the contribution is not well understood. Here, the authors provide a methodology using the single electron spin of a nitrogen-vacancy center to image the fine structure of skyrmions which is attributed to the competition between the DMI and stray fields.

    • Y. Dovzhenko
    • , F. Casola
    • , S. Schlotter
    • , T. X. Zhou
    • , F. Büttner
    • , R. L. Walsworth
    • , G. S. D. Beach
    •  &  A. Yacoby

Silvia Milana

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The optical properties of nanographenes can be engineered by designing their size, shape, and edges. Here, the authors show that graphene quantum dots are single photon emitters at room temperature, and their emission wavelength can be controlled by edge functionalization.

    • Shen Zhao
    • , Julien Lavie
    • , Loïc Rondin
    • , Lucile Orcin-Chaix
    • , Carole Diederichs
    • , Philippe Roussignol
    • , Yannick Chassagneux
    • , Christophe Voisin
    • , Klaus Müllen
    • , Akimitsu Narita
    • , Stéphane Campidelli
    •  &  Jean-Sébastien Lauret
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Atomically thin transition metal dichalcogenides offer a platform to explore the valley degree of freedom originating from their electronic band structure. Here, the authors use polarization- and time-resolved spectroscopy to investigate the temperature-dependent valley pseudospin relaxation processes in WSe2 monolayers.

    • Yuhei Miyauchi
    • , Satoru Konabe
    • , Feijiu Wang
    • , Wenjin Zhang
    • , Alexander Hwang
    • , Yusuke Hasegawa
    • , Lizhong Zhou
    • , Shinichiro Mouri
    • , Minglin Toh
    • , Goki Eda
    •  &  Kazunari Matsuda
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) is a layered van der Waals material showing promise for nanophotonics. Here, the authors design hBN photonic crystal cavities with quality factors exceeding 2000, and further demonstrate deterministic tuning of individual cavities by minimally-invasive electron beam induced etching.

    • Sejeong Kim
    • , Johannes E. Fröch
    • , Joe Christian
    • , Marcus Straw
    • , James Bishop
    • , Daniel Totonjian
    • , Kenji Watanabe
    • , Takashi Taniguchi
    • , Milos Toth
    •  &  Igor Aharonovich
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The wide application of wireless communications in various technologies calls for the development of robust yet compact radio-frequency switches. Here, Kim et al. utilize MoS2 based non-volatile memristors to switch up to THz frequencies in sub µm2 areas, whilst the switches consume zero-static energy.

    • Myungsoo Kim
    • , Ruijing Ge
    • , Xiaohan Wu
    • , Xing Lan
    • , Jesse Tice
    • , Jack C. Lee
    •  &  Deji Akinwande
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Observing and tuning the Kondo effect in graphene is experimentally challenging. Here, the authors identify the spectroscopic signature of Kondo screening in graphene, along with a quantum phase transition between screened and unscreened phases of vacancy magnetic moments.

    • Yuhang Jiang
    • , Po-Wei Lo
    • , Daniel May
    • , Guohong Li
    • , Guang-Yu Guo
    • , Frithjof B. Anders
    • , Takashi Taniguchi
    • , Kenji Watanabe
    • , Jinhai Mao
    •  &  Eva Y. Andrei
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The interplay between strong interactions and presence of disorder makes atomically thin transition metal dichalcogenides an ideal platform to study phase transitions and critical phenomena. Here, the authors observe asymmetric critical exponents around the metal-insulator-transition of multilayer MoS2.

    • Byoung Hee Moon
    • , Jung Jun Bae
    • , Min-Kyu Joo
    • , Homin Choi
    • , Gang Hee Han
    • , Hanjo Lim
    •  &  Young Hee Lee