of the National Center of Competence in Research on
Materials with Novel Electronic Properties / NCCR MaNEP

Nr. 23 / October 2010 >>> Download this e-Newsletter in PDF

The Proposed X-ray Free Electron Laser (SwissFEL) at PSI

2010 Nobel Prize in Physics Discovery of Graphene

Check the MaNEP news

Editorial / Making excellent progress

Prof. Oystein FischerBy Prof. Dirk van der Marel

The science of Materials with Novel Electronic Properties is passing through a very exciting phase, characterized by a rapid progression of novel materials, novel states of matter, leading to further theoretical ideas and predictions which in turn lead to new cycles of material development, novel properties, and so on and so forth. The physics of graphene, for which Andrei Geim and Konstantin Novoselov received this year’s Nobel Prize in physics, is such a case. Since its original discovery it has inspired theories on two-dimensional Dirac electrons with spin-orbit coupling, leading to the prediction and experimental verification of the spin quantum Hall effect in HgTe, and lead to the discovery of an entirely novel class of materials called “topological band insulators”, exhibiting metallic surfaces with amazing properties.

Novel superconducting materials are being discovered, based on iron,

arsenic, selenium, and other elements, which exhibit, many other exotic properties, including high temperature superconductivity, which perhaps one day will find their way into our daily life.

In these and other areas MaNEP is making strong progress, progress which is testified by the attribution of prestigious awards reported in this Newsletter: Congratulations to MaNEP director Øystein Fischer, Hans Beck, T. Maurice Rice, and Louis Schlappbach, who have become honorary members of the Swiss Physical Society. Congratulations to Erik van Heumen also for the SPS Award for Condensed Matter Physics sponsored by IBM for his research on superconductivity, to François Roy of EPFL for the Van Duzer Prize for the Best Contributed Paper in the IEEE transactions, and to Qianli Chen for the Poster Award of the Swiss Society for Crystallography.

A large number of great scientific papers have been published by MaNEP members, some of which are highlighted in this issue. Several of these report the result of fruitful collaborations of MaNEP teams in different parts of Switzerland.

The papers on Resonating Inelastic X-ray Scattering experiments done on Fe-based superconductors and cuprates are a good example; this work involves teams at EPFL, University of Geneva and the ADRESS-beamline at SLS.

Applications are poring out from earlier fundamental discoveries of Materials with Novel Electronic Properties, while in fact in some cases these discoveries are still a few years young. At the same time new materials and new phenomena are being discovered at the very moment that you are reading this. This provides the basis for future developments, both in fundamental science and applications. The MaNEP collaboration is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, collaboration worldwide in this field brimming of ideas and discoveries. New instruments, such as the proposed X-ray Free Electron Laser (SwissFEL) at PSI provide powerful techniques beyond our dreams, which will help us now and in the future to explore materials. MaNEP is faring well; great discoveries lie ahead of us.

4th MaNEP Winter School

The 4th MaNEP winter school entitled "Emergent States of Electronic Matter" will take place from January 9 to 14, 2011, in Saas Fee.
A broad introduction will be given in three basic courses, covering the topics of electronic properties and basic phenomena, experimental studies of spin and charge responses and quantum magnetism. More specialized courses will cover topological insulators, molecular semiconductors, pnictide superconductors, multiferroics, and the centenary of superconductivity.
The school is for doctoral and young post-doctoral associates.
Closing date for applications is October 31, 2010.

[ Information and applications ]