Science and Engineering

University of California, Santa Barbara

Stephen Wilson
Santa Barbara, CA
June 2015

The goal of this project is to push the frontiers of materials discovery forward through the creation of a high-pressure, laser-based, optical furnace capable of floating-zone (FZ) growth of single crystals at the frontier of new quantum phase discovery – where the pressure and design limitations of existing technology prevent scientific exploration.  The ability to grow high purity crystals of inorganic materials has historically driven not only the development of materials underlying current technologies, but it has also traditionally fueled the engine of discovery at the frontiers of electronic/quantum phase behavior.  Despite this historical and continued importance, a lack of continued investment in the development FZ techniques has left an inability to utilize this ultrahigh purity process to grow crystals of volatile and high-pressure stabilized oxides – a materials phase space where the next generation of electronic/quantum phases are predicted to emerge.  As a result, experimental exploration of these materials is at an impasse.  Through the support of WMKF, we will surmount this obstacle by reimagining existing FZ techniques and constructing a furnace capable of reaching pressures an order of magnitude greater than the current state of the art.  We will then use this furnace to grow and explore crystals of a class of volatile oxides, iridates, where new exotic quantum phenomena are predicted to appear.

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