Experimental Solid State Physics Department

Staff of the Department

The main activity of the Experimental Solid State Physics Department is the synthesis of new materials, the determination of their atomic structure and the measurement of their various physical properties. The target of this research is to obtain advanced materials and reach a detailed understanding of their structure-property relationships. This is invention motivated research that mixes well experimental and computational physics, material- and methodology-based approaches, traditional and very new research directions. The investigated materials are as diverse as metallic nanoparticles, thin films, fullerenes, nanotubes, metal-organic networks and protein solutions, experimental techniques include x-ray diffraction, NMR, Mössbauer and optical spectroscopies. Computational physics is also very strong in the department, mathematical and numerical modeling of complex solidification patterns and processes in advanced materials, including colloids, metals, polymers, metamaterials, and biomorphic crystal aggregates are carried out. Important problems of XFEL single particle imaging were also solved recently and active participation in these measurements is planned in the future.

Outstanding results

  1. Fullerides are superconductors having the highest transition temperature known for any molecular material, moreover correlated electrons play the key role in the mechanism of their superconductivity. For understanding strongly correlated superconductivity the knowledge of the antiferromagnetic insulator ground state is essential. According to theoretical works, stemming from the high symmetry of fullerides, the Jahn-Teller effect and the Mott insulating state is entangled. Our work is the first experimental evidence that the Jahn-Teller effect appears in the insulating state of a material, which has a correlated superconducting state, also. The detection of the Jahn-Teller effect has been carried out via observing the subtle distortion of the molecule, measured by infrared spectroscopy, which is able to track dynamic distortions, as well. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1910 (Nature Communications 2012)
  2. Using atomistic phase-field theory we have solved outstanding problems of crystalline solidification, including the description of two-step nucleation and heterogeneous nucleation in highly non-equilibrium fluids, and the discovery of a new crystal branching mechanism based on the competition of diffusionless and diffusion-controlled growth modes. These results have been presented in 4 articles in the PRL and reviewed in an Advances in Physics paper (IF ~34). In relation to these results, in the past 3 years, we had 18 related invited talks including 1 plenary and 4 keynote talks. DOI: 10.1080/00018732.2012.737555

Research groups of the Department: