A key enabling component to our research is crystal growth.
Detailed investigation of the intrinsic physical properties of materials often requires the measurement of single crystal samples. This is especially true in the realm of quantum materials, for which complex interactions can lead to subtle forms of emergent magnetic and electronic properties. At a basic level, single crystals enable determination of the intrinsic anisotropy of such materials, providing detailed information about important terms in the effective Hamiltonian describing the low energy properties. More broadly, crystal growth is also a purifying process. Structural and compositional disorder can profoundly affect the ground state of strongly correlated systems, or mask the signatures of subtle electronic phase transitions. Furthermore, subtle electronic states can exist close to the boundary of competing phases, and precise control of the stoichiometry is a prerequisite both for determining the intrinsic properties of a stoichiometric “parent” compound, and also for continuous control of the composition via chemical substitution. These reasons all motivate the development of well-controlled methods for the growth of high quality single crystals. In some cases, materials of interest to the condensed matter community are already the subject of extensive research in the broader fields of solid state chemistry or materials science, and avenues for crystal growth may already have been developed and studied for their own intellectual merit. However, for the majority of cases the synthesis of these materials has not been studied in such rigor, and consequently they are not broadly available in single crystal form. We use a variety of techniques to grow high-quality single crystals of the materials that we study, some of which are shown in the gallery of photographs to the left.
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|Fisher Research Group
Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials
Dept. of Applied Physics
|Last Updated: 23rd June 2012|