PhD project: Listening to quantum criticality

Project description

Ultra-sound is a powerful directional probe for understanding magnetic phase transitions and exploring non-conventional superconductivity. The project will develop and use this technique to gain insight into the mechanism responsible for unconventional superconductivity in UGe and similar materials. UGe is both ferromagentic and superconducting, a state requiring parallel spins to be paired.

Both the sound velocity and attenuation give information about the magnetic and electronic degrees of freedom. The technique is also well suited for use in pressure cells, needed to tune materials to the conditions where non-conventional superconductivity and other states emerge (at 1.2 GPa for UGe2). We have made ultrasound measurements up to 1.5 GPa and down to 2 K in high magnetic field to study a mysterious pressure induced magnetic transition that changes dramatically with pressure as the conditions for superconductivity are approached. The PhD project would extend this work to use our dilution refrigerator to study the superconducting phase in UGe2 at lower temperture. A prototype apparatus with an indentor cell allowing measurements on other systems requiring higher pressures would also be developed. The project offers the opportunity to work with state of the art instrument development and pressure cells to discover what drives superconductivity in ferromagentic superconductors.

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