4-Corner Southwest Ontario Condensed Matter Symposium 2011

Conference Date: 
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 (All day)
Scientific Areas: 
Condensed Matter


This fourth annual one-day symposium aims to provide an opportunity for condensed matter researchers in southwest Ontario to gather together and discuss informally their most recent research. The general format of the meeting consists of two guest speakers and 5-7 contributed talks. The names of the contributing speakers and title of their talks will be announced later. Registration begins at 9:30 am. The meeting is expected to start around 9:45 am and end between 5:00-5:30 pm. A lunch will be provided by the Black Hole Bistro.


This year's invited speakers are Eduardo Fradkin (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Seamus Davis (Cornell University). Fradkin will talk about stripes and their thermal and quantum fluctuations in high-temperature superconductors, while Davis will talk about the "Mysteries within the Cu02 Cells", also in copper-oxide superconductors. In 2010, the guest speaker was Leon Balents (Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics). In 2009, the guest speakers were Piers Coleman (Rutgers) and Bill Halperin (Northwestern), and in 2008, the guest speakers were Subir Sachdev (Harvard) and Collin Broholm (Johns Hopkins). 



Seamus Davis, Cornell University 

Eduardo Fradkin, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Bruce Gaulin, McMaster University

Michel Gingras, University of Waterloo

David Hawthorn, University of Waterloo

Rob Hill, University of Waterloo 

Catherine Kallin, McMaster University 

Jan Kycia, University of Waterloo

Graeme Luke, McMaster University 

Voloday Miransky, University of Western Ontario 

Rachel Wortis, Trent University  


Eduardo Fradkin, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Electronic liquid crystal phases of strongly correlated systems

It is a generic feature of strongly correlated electronic systems that several mechanisms (broadly represented by interactions) compete with each other. This competition often leads to the phenomenon of frustration. In strongly correlated systems such as doped Mott insulators kinetic energy and Coulomb repulsion frustrate the tendency of doped holes to phase separate. The result is the onset of a set of novel phases, which we dubbed Electronic Liquid Crystal (ELC) states, with varying degrees of complexity. Much like classical liquid crystals, electronic liquid crystal phases break translation and rotational invariance to varying degrees. In this talk I will focus on the experimental evidence and theory of two these phases, stripes and nematics, in several different systems including two-dimensional electron gases in large magnetic fields, ruthenate oxides, heavy fermions, and cuprate and pnictide superconductors.


Seamus Davis, Cornell University

The secrets within

Direct visualization of the electronic structure within each crystalline unit cell of a solid is a new frontier in condensed matter physics (M. J. Lawler et al, Nature 466, 347 (2010)). In this talk, I will introduce the techniques of spectroscopic imaging scanning tunneling microscopy (SI-­â€STM) and then explain how our new application of this technique allows visualization of the intra-­â€unit-­â€cell electronic structure. We use this approach to study the pseudogap phase of cuprate high temperature superconductors. Recent experiments provide evidence that this phase may be associated with spontaneously broken electronic symmetries. By studying the Bragg peaks in Fourier transforms of SI-­â€ STM images, and in particular by resolving both the real and imaginary components of these Bragg amplitudes (as opposed to the Bragg intensities without phase information which are the observables in scattering experiments), we reveal the intra-­â€unit-­â€cell broken electronic symmetries of the cuprate pseudogap phase (J.P. Hinton et al, Science (2011)).


David Hawthorn, University of Waterloo

Resonant soft x-ray scattering in stripe ordered Nd-LaSrCuO

Recently resonant elastic soft x-ray scattering (RSXS) has emerged as a powerful new tool to study electronic ordering in materials like cuprates and manganites. The power of this technique is to combine xray scattering, which is sensitive to spatial order, with x-ray spectroscopy, which is sensitive to the valence, spin and orbital symmetry of specific atoms. This combination allows one to probe very directly and considerable detail a variety of exotic spin, charge, orbital or structural ordering phenomena. I will discuss the application of this technique to an investigation of charge density wave (CDW) order in the cuprate superconductor La1.475Nd0.4Sr0.125CuO4. Analysis of the photon energy dependence of the resonant scattering intensity provides unique insight into the microscopic details of the CDW ordering. New results from the REIXS beamline at the Canadian Light Source will be presented.


Rob Hill, University of Waterloo

Superconducting gap symmetry in iron-pnictide superconductors: a thermal conductivity perspective

The nature of the pairing mechanism in the recently discoverediron-pnictide family of superconductors remains an outstanding issue. To answer this question, it is instructive to know the symmetry of the superconducting energy gap. Low temperature thermal conductivity measurements provide a robust test of the presence or absence of low energy electronic quasiparticles that in turn can be used to characterise the symmetry of the gap function. In this talk, I will review what has been learnt so far from such measurements across several families of iron-pnictide superconductors, including our own recent results on the stoichiometric material LaFePO.


Catherine Kallin, McMaster University

Ordering in the Spatially Anisotropic Heisenberg Model on a Triangular Lattice

The spin 1/2 Heisenberg model on a triangular lattice with interchain exchange, J', weaker than the intrachain exchange J, is a particularly well-studied frustrated magnet because of its relevance to Cs2CuCl4, which is thought to be in close proximity to a spin liquid phase. Although an incomensurate spiral state is stable for J'~J, a variet of theoretical studies find evidence for spin liquid behavior well before the decoupled chain limit, J'=0, is reached. However, a renormalization group approach found the surprising result that a collinear antiferromagnetic phase was stable for small J'/J. This talk will briefly review earlier studies and present new results on the relative stability of spiral, collinear and spin liquid phases.


Jan Kycia, University of Waterloo

Dynamics of the magnetic susceptibility deep in the Coulomb phase of the dipolar spin ice material Ho2Ti2O7

Very recently, it has been recognized that excitations out of the ground state of materials known as spin ice can be viewed as magnetic monopoles, the magnetic analog to electric charges. Like electrons and positrons, these particles possess a charge of +Q or -Q and therefore attract or repel each other. Magnetic monopoles, however, can be accelerated using a magnetic field instead of an electric field. In this talk, I will report on experiments deep into the frozen state of the spin ice material holmium titanate where monopoles are few and far between and the material responds very slowly to a changing magnetic field. Taking advantage of the extremely sensitive magnetic field detector known as a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID), we measure the rate at which the monopoles are created, move about and are eventually annihilated. A surprisingly simple law emerges at low temperatures, known as an Arrhenius law, suggesting that the generation of these magnetic charges requires an energy that does not change in temperature and for a yet unknown reason, is precisely 3 times the energy required to make a single, bare monopole.


Graeme Luke, McMaster University

Quantum fluctuations in spin ice

Geometrical frustration in magnetic systems provides a rich playground to study the emergence of novel ground states. In systems where not all magnetic couplings can be simultaneously satisfied, conventional long range magnetic order is often precluded, or pushed to much lower temperature scales than would be expected from the strength of the magnetic interactions. Dy2Ti2O7 has a pyrochlore lattice, where the magnetic Dy ions lie on the vertices of corner sharing tetrahedra. The Dy magnetic moments are constrained by crystal fields to lie along local <111> axes, pointing towards or away from the tetrahedral centres. With a ferromagnetic interaction between nearest neighbours, the ground state for each tetrahedron has two spins pointing in and two out. Due to the number of possible ways of satisfying this constraint, the overall ground state is highly degenerate; in fact this system can be mapped onto the problem of water ice where each oxygen atom has two strongly bound and two weakly bound protons, leading the magnetic problem to be referred to as spin ice. Recent theoretical work in understanding the magnetic excitation in spin ice, where the spin flip excitations can be described in terms of magnetic monopoles. Bramwell et al., reported muon spin rotation measurements of spin ice which they interpreted in terms of this monopole picture. In contrast to the work of Bramwell et al., our muon spin relaxation measurements do not exhibit highly temperature dependent Arrhenius processes expected for monopoles. Instead we report temperature independent spin fluctuations well into the spin ice state and that the previous interpretations are incorrect.


Rachel Wortis, Trent University

Disorder-induced zero bias anomalies in strongly correlated systems

Many of the most interesting electronic behaviors arise in materials with strong electron-electron correlations. Many of these same materials are disordered either intrinsically or due to doping. The combination of disorder and interactions generally gives rise to a feature in the density of states at the Fermi level, with two of the most influential examples being the Altshuler-Aronov anomaly and the Efros-Shklovskii Coulomb gap. Experiments on strongly correlated materials and recent numerical results on the Anderson-Hubbard model, however, show behavior which is inconsistent with both of these frameworks. This talk will present some of the features of the zero bias anomaly in strongly correlated systems, both in the case of a purely on-site interaction and in the presence of nearest-neighbor interactions, and it will describe the physical origin of some of these features.


Volodya Miransky, University of Western Ontario

Theory of quantum Hall effect in bilayer grapheme

Utilizing the Baym-Kadanoff formalism with the polarization function calculated in the random phase approximation, the dynamics of the ν=0, ±1, ±2, ±3, ±4 quantum Hall states in bilayer graphene is analyzed. In particular, in the undoped graphene, corresponding to the ν =0 state, two phases with nonzero energy gap, the ferromagnetic and layer asymmetric ones, are found. The phase diagram in the plane (Δ0,B), where Δ0 is a top-bottom gates voltage imbalance, is described. It is shown that the energy gaps in these phases scale linearly, ΔE~10 B [T] K, with magnetic field. The ground states of the doped states, with ν=±1, ±2, ±3, ±4, are also described. The comparison of these results with recent experiments in bilayer graphene is presented.