Eduardo da Silva Neto (Research Scientist, to start as an Assistant Professor in Physics on July 1, 2020) has been awarded an NSF Career Award, “Determining the Role of Intertwined Orders in Superconducting Quantum Materials” to start July 1, 2019.
The origin of electrical resistance in simple metals is well-described by a model in which electrons behave like independent billiard balls colliding within the material, and losing energy in the process. On the other hand, in superconducting quantum materials many electrons behave collectively to create a state where electric current can flow without energy loss. In many cases, these quantum materials may feature enhanced properties that defy our conventional knowledge, and could be key to the future of clean energy transmission and other everyday technologies. However, as one tries to enhance superconductivity, other phenomena, including ordered states, appear as well. The fundamental roadblock is to understand how these additional intertwined orders are detrimental or helpful to the superconductivity. This project uses complementary scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy, a tool that visualizes the electrons in the sub-nanoscale, and resonant x-ray scattering to investigate the role of intertwined orders in superconducting quantum materials, while manipulating the materials using a variety of conditions like external field or temperature. This project also uses online tools for the broader dissemination of knowledge. Several online video modules, featuring undergraduate and graduate students, demonstrate and explain the advanced laboratory techniques related to this project. This project also targets the inclusion of underrepresented minorities through the development of teaching modules for the Mentorships for Undergraduate Research Participants in the Physical and Mathematical Sciences program at UC Davis.