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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

    The effects of dopants in high-temperature superconductors on the surrounding electronic structure give insights into their unconventional microscopic behaviour. Here the authors find a new class of defects that they identify as oxygen dopants whose ionization and local environment induce unusual atomic-scale charge dynamics.

    • F. Massee
    • , Y. K. Huang
    • , M. S. Golden
    •  &  M. Aprili
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Topological phases of matter are determined by its symmetries and dimension. Here the authors show that in non-Hermitian systems, such as those with gain and loss, time-reversal and particle-hole symmetries are equivalent to each other, unifying otherwise distinct topological classes and leading to emergent non-Hermitian topological phases.

    • Kohei Kawabata
    • , Sho Higashikawa
    • , Zongping Gong
    • , Yuto Ashida
    •  &  Masahito Ueda
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Little is known about diffusion along metal/ceramic interfaces even though it controls the physical behavior and lifetimes of many devices (including batteries, microelectronics, and jet engines). Here, the authors show that diffusion along a nickel/sapphire interface is abnormally fast due to nickel vacancies and generalise their findings to a wide-range of metal/ceramic systems.

    • Aakash Kumar
    • , Hagit Barda
    • , Leonid Klinger
    • , Michael W. Finnis
    • , Vincenzo Lordi
    • , Eugen Rabkin
    •  &  David J. Srolovitz
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    In two-dimensional electron systems, strong Coulomb interactions lead to the formation of new phases. Here the authors observe a transition between two of these correlated phases, a composite fermion liquid and Wigner solid, in a zinc oxide heterostructure.

    • D. Maryenko
    • , A. McCollam
    • , J. Falson
    • , Y. Kozuka
    • , J. Bruin
    • , U. Zeitler
    •  &  M. Kawasaki
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Recent experiments have indicated that YbMgGaO4 may be a quantum spin liquid with spinon Fermi surfaces but additional evidence is needed to support this interpretation. Shen et al. show weak magnetic fields cause changes in the excitation continuum that are consistent with spin liquid predictions.

    • Yao Shen
    • , Yao-Dong Li
    • , H. C. Walker
    • , P. Steffens
    • , M. Boehm
    • , Xiaowen Zhang
    • , Shoudong Shen
    • , Hongliang Wo
    • , Gang Chen
    •  &  Jun Zhao
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Controlling ferroelectric polarization is conventionally achieved by applying electric fields, mechanical force or similar. Here reversible switching of the bulk polarization of a BiFeO3 thin film is demonstrated by pattering aqueous solution on to the surface enabling large-scale switching.

    • Yu Tian
    • , Lanying Wei
    • , Qinghua Zhang
    • , Houbing Huang
    • , Yuelin Zhang
    • , Hua Zhou
    • , Fengjie Ma
    • , Lin Gu
    • , Sheng Meng
    • , Long-Qing Chen
    • , Ce-Wen Nan
    •  &  Jinxing Zhang

Wei Fan

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    It remains challenging on how to selectively control terahertz conductivity at surface from the bulk contribution in topological insulators. Here, Luo et al. discover and manipulate topologically enhanced surface transport due to helical spin structure using mid-infrared and terahertz ultrafast photoexcitations.

    • L. Luo
    • , X. Yang
    • , X. Liu
    • , Z. Liu
    • , C. Vaswani
    • , D. Cheng
    • , M. Mootz
    • , X. Zhao
    • , Y. Yao
    • , C.-Z. Wang
    • , K.-M. Ho
    • , I. E. Perakis
    • , M. Dobrowolska
    • , J. K. Furdyna
    •  &  J. Wang
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    An anomalous phase shift in a topological insulator based Josephson junction is expected but never been observed. Here, Assouline et al. observe an anomalous phase shift in a Bi2Se3 based Josephson junction in presence of an in-plane magnetic field, opening opportunities for phase-controlled Josephson devices.

    • Alexandre Assouline
    • , Cheryl Feuillet-Palma
    • , Nicolas Bergeal
    • , Tianzhen Zhang
    • , Alireza Mottaghizadeh
    • , Alexandre Zimmers
    • , Emmanuel Lhuillier
    • , Mahmoud Eddrie
    • , Paola Atkinson
    • , Marco Aprili
    •  &  Hervé Aubin
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Spectroscopic evidence of equal-spin triplet Cooper pairs is still missing so far. Here, Diesch et al. propose a unique signature for the presence of equal-spin triplet pairs and experimentally reveal the spin configuration of triplet pairs at the Al/EuS interface.

    • S. Diesch
    • , P. Machon
    • , M. Wolz
    • , C. Sürgers
    • , D. Beckmann
    • , W. Belzig
    •  &  E. Scheer
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Characteristics of spin waves in recently discovered two-dimensional (2D) Ising ferromagnets are still lacking. Here, Jin and Kim et al. report Raman resonance evidence of two sets of surface spin waves in the 2D honeycomb ferromagnet CrI3.

    • Wencan Jin
    • , Hyun Ho Kim
    • , Zhipeng Ye
    • , Siwen Li
    • , Pouyan Rezaie
    • , Fabian Diaz
    • , Saad Siddiq
    • , Eric Wauer
    • , Bowen Yang
    • , Chenghe Li
    • , Shangjie Tian
    • , Kai Sun
    • , Hechang Lei
    • , Adam W. Tsen
    • , Liuyan Zhao
    •  &  Rui He
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Understanding the ground state (GS) phase transitions in the quantum tunneling regime of a superconducting system is important for future qubit devices. Here, Shen, Heedt and Borsoi et al. report distinct types of fermion parity GS transitions as a function of magnetic field and gate voltages in a Coulomb-blockaded InSb–Al island.

    • Jie Shen
    • , Sebastian Heedt
    • , Francesco Borsoi
    • , Bernard van Heck
    • , Sasa Gazibegovic
    • , Roy L. M. Op het Veld
    • , Diana Car
    • , John A. Logan
    • , Mihir Pendharkar
    • , Senja J. J. Ramakers
    • , Guanzhong Wang
    • , Di Xu
    • , Daniël Bouman
    • , Attila Geresdi
    • , Chris J. Palmstrøm
    • , Erik P. A. M. Bakkers
    •  &  Leo P. Kouwenhoven
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Topological states may emerge in nonequilibrium but the mechanisms are much less understood. Here Topp et al. propose a nonequilibrium route to obtain the magnetic Weyl semimetallic phase in pyrochlore iridates by ultrafast modification of the effective electron-electron interactions with short laser pulses.

    • Gabriel E. Topp
    • , Nicolas Tancogne-Dejean
    • , Alexander F. Kemper
    • , Angel Rubio
    •  &  Michael A. Sentef

Yu Gong

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Energy-efficient manipulation of spins at the nanoscale can advance magnetic storage and computing technologies. Here the authors show that low-dimensional chaos generated by alternating spin torque can induce magnetic switching in a nanoscale ferromagnet.

    • Eric Arturo Montoya
    • , Salvatore Perna
    • , Yu-Jin Chen
    • , Jordan A. Katine
    • , Massimiliano d’Aquino
    • , Claudio Serpico
    •  &  Ilya N. Krivorotov
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Electric field controlled magnetism provides an energy efficient way for the operations in the spintronic devices. Here the authors show strain induced, reversible, nonvolatile electric field control of magnetization and magnetoresistance in a magnetic tunnel junction on a ferroelectric substrate at room temperature and zero magnetic field.

    • Aitian Chen
    • , Yan Wen
    • , Bin Fang
    • , Yuelei Zhao
    • , Qiang Zhang
    • , Yuansi Chang
    • , Peisen Li
    • , Hao Wu
    • , Haoliang Huang
    • , Yalin Lu
    • , Zhongming Zeng
    • , Jianwang Cai
    • , Xiufeng Han
    • , Tom Wu
    • , Xi-Xiang Zhang
    •  &  Yonggang Zhao
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Imaging the antiferromagnetic (AFM) domains facilitates the understanding and design of AFM spintronics but is still challenging. Here the authors show an imaging approach for antiphase domains in AFM Fe2Mo3O8 by resonantly scattered coherent soft X-rays, which is also applicable to collinear antiferromagnets.

    • Min Gyu Kim
    • , Hu Miao
    • , Bin Gao
    • , S.-W. Cheong
    • , C. Mazzoli
    • , A. Barbour
    • , Wen Hu
    • , S. B. Wilkins
    • , I. K. Robinson
    • , M. P. M. Dean
    •  &  V. Kiryukhin
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Magnon-based spintronic devices crucially rely on the capability of spin wave manipulation. Here the authors achieve active control of spin wave transmission by programming a pinned 90 degree Néel domain wall in a continuous CoFeB/BaTiO3 film with abrupt rotations of uniaxial magnetic anisotropy.

    • Sampo J. Hämäläinen
    • , Marco Madami
    • , Huajun Qin
    • , Gianluca Gubbiotti
    •  &  Sebastiaan van Dijken
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Controlling the Néel vector switching is crucial to the antiferromagnetic spintronics but so far limited to 90° reorientations. Here the authors report electrical Néel vector reversal and its detection in a fully compensated collinear antiferromagnet (AF) by exploiting the broken time reversal and spatial inversion symmetries of the AF.

    • J. Godinho
    • , H. Reichlová
    • , D. Kriegner
    • , V. Novák
    • , K. Olejník
    • , Z. Kašpar
    • , Z. Šobáň
    • , P. Wadley
    • , R. P. Campion
    • , R. M. Otxoa
    • , P. E. Roy
    • , J. Železný
    • , T. Jungwirth
    •  &  J. Wunderlich
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Nano-contact-based spin wave generation may enable high-frequency magnonic devices but has been limited to long wavelengths and weak signal strengths. Here the authors demonstrate high-order short-wavelength propagating spin waves with increased transmission rates and propagation lengths in magnetic tunnel junction stacks.

    • A. Houshang
    • , R. Khymyn
    • , H. Fulara
    • , A. Gangwar
    • , M. Haidar
    • , S. R. Etesami
    • , R. Ferreira
    • , P. P. Freitas
    • , M. Dvornik
    • , R. K. Dumas
    •  &  J. Åkerman

Silvia Milana

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Placement of charge centres with atomic precision on graphene allows exploration of new types of confinement of charge carriers. Here, the authors fabricate atomically precise arrays of point charges on graphene and observe the onset of a frustrated supercritical regime.

    • Jiong Lu
    • , Hsin-Zon Tsai
    • , Alpin N. Tatan
    • , Sebastian Wickenburg
    • , Arash A. Omrani
    • , Dillon Wong
    • , Alexander Riss
    • , Erik Piatti
    • , Kenji Watanabe
    • , Takashi Taniguchi
    • , Alex Zettl
    • , Vitor M. Pereira
    •  &  Michael F. Crommie
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The observation of magnetic field dependence of defects hosted in hBN has been elusive so far. Here, the authors perform an investigation of spin-related effects in the optical emission from hBN defects, and observe a magnetic field dependence in the intensity of the photoluminescence spectrum.

    • Annemarie L. Exarhos
    • , David A. Hopper
    • , Raj N. Patel
    • , Marcus W. Doherty
    •  &  Lee C. Bassett
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The short exciton life time in atomically thin transition metal dichalcogenides poses limitations to efficient control of the valley pseudospin and coherence. Here, the authors manipulate the exciton coherence in a WSe2 monolayer embedded in an optical microcavity in the strong light-matter coupling regime.

    • S. Dufferwiel
    • , T. P. Lyons
    • , D. D. Solnyshkov
    • , A. A. P. Trichet
    • , A. Catanzaro
    • , F. Withers
    • , G. Malpuech
    • , J. M. Smith
    • , K. S. Novoselov
    • , M. S. Skolnick
    • , D. N. Krizhanovskii
    •  &  A. I. Tartakovskii
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Quantitative analysis of the extinction spectra of dispersions of 2D materials is complicated by light scattering. Here, the authors investigate non-resonant scattering in suspensions of wide-bandgap nanosheets, and develop a general model which allows the scattering spectra to be used as metrics for particle size in nanosheet dispersions.

    • Andrew Harvey
    • , Claudia Backes
    • , John B. Boland
    • , Xiaoyun He
    • , Aideen Griffin
    • , Beata Szydlowska
    • , Cian Gabbett
    • , John F. Donegan
    •  &  Jonathan N. Coleman
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Encapsulated graphene Josephson junctions are promising for microwave quantum circuits but so far haven’t been explored. Here, Schmidt and Jenkins et al. observe a gate-tunable Josephson inductance in a microwave circuit based on a ballistic graphene Josephson junction embedded in a superconducting cavity.

    • Felix E. Schmidt
    • , Mark D. Jenkins
    • , Kenji Watanabe
    • , Takashi Taniguchi
    •  &  Gary A. Steele
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    High-order correlated states in atomically thin transition metal dichalcogenides may be facilitated by long-lived optically dark excitons. Here, the authors report experimentally the emergence of neutral and charged biexciton species at low light intensities in encapsulated WSe2 monolayers.

    • Ziliang Ye
    • , Lutz Waldecker
    • , Eric Yue Ma
    • , Daniel Rhodes
    • , Abhinandan Antony
    • , Bumho Kim
    • , Xiao-Xiao Zhang
    • , Minda Deng
    • , Yuxuan Jiang
    • , Zhengguang Lu
    • , Dmitry Smirnov
    • , Kenji Watanabe
    • , Takashi Taniguchi
    • , James Hone
    •  &  Tony F. Heinz