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Research Line 5

Electronic, optical and magnetic properties of low-dimensional systems

This activity is devoted to the fundamental electronic and magnetic properties of solids studied with electron spectroscopy and to the development of new experimental methods in that field.

The work is based on the design, the construction and the use of original and advanced instrumentation, capable of opening new paths in the field of spectroscopies based on ultraviolet radiation, x rays, or electron beams (see the list of instruments). For this reason in many cases our instruments can work only when coupled to the most modern electromagnetic radiation sources (synchrotrons, ultra-short pulse lasers). The instruments, usually designed and built in our Department, are installed and used in synchrotron radiation labs (AXES and IRRS at the ESRF, France; SAXES at the SLS in Switzerland) or at the ULTRAS lab of the INFM/CNR inside the Department (UphOS). The VESI lab (photoemission and inverse photoemission of samples grown in situ by MBE) and the SAM lab (scanning electron microscopy with Auger spectroscopy capability) are installed inside the Department’s building. In some cases the research activity is based also on instrumentation developed by other groups at the synchrotrons.

The current research projects are devoted to the characterization, at an atomic level, of the magnetic and electronic structure of materials potentially interesting for future applications of electronic technologies, such as magnetic oxides and superconductors. These materials stimulate also a purely scientific interest due to their very special properties that greatly challenge the best theoretical models. For example the project “High resolution RIXS” is devoted to high critical temperature cuprate superconductors, ferromagnetic manganite thin films, titanium and vanadium oxides; for those systems we aim at determining the relation between the local crystalline structure (coordination, interatomic distances) and the electronic energy levels. The “Hard RIXS” project is devoted to electronic excitations in strongly correlated systems too, with the possibility of studying the effects of pressure on electronic correlation. The “FemtoMagnetism and x-ray scattering” projects is based on the use of magnetic circular dichroism in special experimental geometries for the study, at atomic scale, of the magnetic dynamics in ferromagnets. The “Ultrafast electronic Dynamics in Solids” project is devoted to the study of electronic and magnetic dynamics.