The nature of the metallic state and the existence of superconductivity on the border of the insulator-metal transition of the 2D Mott insulator will be investigated experimentally in this project. Diamond anvil cells will be used to reach megabar pressures and a variety of low temperature cryostats will be used to reach the millikelvin regime. At these extreme conditions the materials of interest (MPX3 M = Fe, Ni, Mn and X = S, Se) undergo an insulator to metal transition with dramatic changes in the structural, electronic and magnetic properties. In some cases, superconductivity has been observed. The metallic state is poorly understood and provides a test case for the breakdown of one of the cornerstones of correlated electron physics, the Mott insulator. The candidate will join Dr Haines at UEA and will be part of an international collaboration including other labs in the UK (Cambridge and Warwick) and international scattering facilities (Institut Laue-Langevin, Grenoble and Diamond Light Source and ISIS neutron facility on the Harwell site, UK). The work will involve experiments both in the lab and at these central facilities. There is significant scope for the candidate to shape their role in the project – sample synthesis and ab initio calculations being two of the other skills that could form a significant focus for the thesis alongside the high pressure and low temperature experimental techniques.
This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at https://www.uea.ac.uk/about/university-information/finance-and-procurement/finance-information-for-students/tuition-fees A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. Applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.
i) Coak, M., Haines C. R. S., et al. (2021). Emergent Magnetic Phases in Pressure-Tuned van der Waals Antiferromagnet FePS3. Physical Review. X, 11(1), Physical review. X, 2021-02, Vol.11 (1). ii) Haines, C. R. S. et al. (2018). Pressure-Induced Electronic and Structural Phase Evolution in the van der Waals Compound FePS3. Physical Review Letters, 121(26), Physical review letters, 2018-12, Vol.121 (26).
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