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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

    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
  • 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

Wei Fan

  • 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
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The large intrinsic anomalous Hall effect (AHE) in magnetic Weyl semimetals is expected but rarely verified experimentally. Here, Wang et al. report large intrinsic AHE with linear dependence on magnetization in a half-metallic ferromagnet Co3Sn2S2 single crystal with Kagome lattice of Co atoms, arising dominantly from the Weyl fermions.

    • Qi Wang
    • , Yuanfeng Xu
    • , Rui Lou
    • , Zhonghao Liu
    • , Man Li
    • , Yaobo Huang
    • , Dawei Shen
    • , Hongming Weng
    • , Shancai Wang
    •  &  Hechang Lei
  • 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

Yu Gong

  • 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
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Mapping the distribution of magnetic fields inside bulk materials is challenging but crucial to understand and develop functional magnetic materials. Here the authors demonstrate the capability to visualize 3D vector magnetic fields inside materials using spin-polarized neutron tomography and tensorial reconstruction techniques.

    • A. Hilger
    • , I. Manke
    • , N. Kardjilov
    • , M. Osenberg
    • , H. Markötter
    •  &  J. Banhart
  • 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

Silvia Milana

  • 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
  • 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