After the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to two scientists in 2010 who had studied the material graphene, this substance has received a lot of attention. Together with colleagues from Korea, Dr. Frederik Wolff-Fabris from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) has now developed and analyzed a material which possesses physical properties similar to graphene. Its structure also resembles iron pnictides, i.e. high temperature superconductors, and it definitely has a promising future: Due to the position of the individual components in the Periodic Table of Elements, some of the atoms can simply be replaced by foreign atoms. This creates new materials which can be superconductive, magnetic, or behave like topological insulators.
Earlier this year, Dr. Jun Sung Kim came from South Korea to use HZDR's Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory to analyze a number of material samples in high magnetic fields. For the first time ever, he and his colleague from Dresden, Dr. Frederik Wolff-Fabris, studied the metal SrMnBi2 and observed something amazing: The material consisting of the three elements strontium, manganese, and bismuth behaves physically similar to the "magical material" graphene.
Due to its composition and the position of its elements in the Periodic Table, SrMnBi2 permits simple and uncomplicated doping with foreign atoms. Inserting small amounts of foreign atoms alters the physical properties of a material. This might result in the creation of new magnets or superconductors.
SrMnBi2 is currently also in the focus of other research groups; but only the use of ultra-high magnetic fields, such as those generated in the Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory, permitted these precise results and, thus, a publication in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters. Later this year, Dr. Jun Sung Kim will return to Dresden to conduct additional experiments on SrMnBi2 with Dr. Wolff-Fabris.
The original paper was published under the title "Anisotropic Dirac Fermions in a Bi Square Net of SrMnBi2" by Joonbum Park, G. Lee, F. Wolff-Fabris, Y. Y. Koh, M. J. Eom, Y. K. Kim, M. A. Farhan, Y. J. Jo, C. Kim, J. H. Shim, and J. S. Kim in Physical Review Letters, Vol. 107, No. 12 (DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.107.126402), and can be downloaded at: http://prl.
The long-term objective of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) is to ensure excellence in research in those fields that are of great relevance to our society. That is why the HZDR research focuses on the following topics:
- How does matter behave in strong fields and at small-scale dimensions?
- How can malignant tumors be identified at an early stage and treated effectively?
- How can resources and energy be used safely and efficiently?
To answer these scientific questions, five large-scale research facilities provide, in part, unique research opportunities. These facilities are also accessible to external users.
The HZDR has been a member of the Helmholtz Association, Germany's largest research organization, since January 1, 2011. It has three locations in Dresden, Leipzig, and Grenoble and employs around 800 people - 380 of whom are scientists including 120 doctoral candidates.