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Jun 6, 2017 - Science and innovations
Physicists of FEFU, FEB RAS and Japan synthesized quantum metal for the first time

Researchers from Far East Federal University (FEFU), together with colleagues from the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (FEB RAS) and the University of Tokyo (Japan) synthesized the first quantum metal. The unique two-dimensional material has insulating and superconducting properties, while being able to preserve the properties of a normal metal. The results of the research have been published in 2D Materials, a prestigious international scientific journal with impact factor 9.611.

The international group of researchers created the material that is a double layer of thallium atoms on a single-crystal silicon substrate. This two-dimensional metal undergoes transition into the superconducting state at temperatures below 0.96 K (or –272 °C), becomes an insulator under the action of a strong magnetic field, and becomes a quantum metal in an intermediate magnetic field.

According to the participant in the research Alexander Saranin, the Head of the Department of Physics of Low-Dimensional Structures of the FEFU School of Natural Sciences (SNS), Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the experimental observation of such an unusual state of matter is of interest for solving the fundamental problem of basic science—the possibility of the existence of a normal metallic state in two dimensions.

"For more than three decades, there has been a scientific debate about what will happen to a two-dimensional electronic system (two-dimensional metal) as the temperature approaches zero: will it remain metal and will it conduct an electric current? The experiments have shown that, in addition to transition to an insulating or superconducting state, the two-dimensional system can remain a normal metal. This unusual state was called a quantum metal or Bose metal. It is this material that we were able to synthesize and study its electronic properties," said Alexander Saranin.

The unique result was achieved by the triangular cooperation among FEFU, the FEB RAS Institute of Automation and Control Processes (IACP), and the University of Tokyo. Alexander Saranin, Professor Andrey Zotov, Dmitry Gruznev, Leonid Bondarenko, postgraduate student Alexander Tupchaya, the researchers from FEFU SNS and FEB RAS IACP, as well as Professor Shuji Hasegawa and postgraduate student Satoru Ichinokura from the University of Tokyo participated in the research.