Recent Publications

Atomic wires on substrates: Physics between one and two dimensions

Wires having a width of one or two atoms are the smallest possible physical objects that may exhibit one-dimensional properties. In order to be experimentally accessible at finite temperatures, such wires must stabilized by interactions in two and even three dimensions. These interactions modify and partly destroy their one-dimensional properties, but introduce new phenomena of coupling and correlation that entangle both charge and spin. We explore this fascinating field by first giving an overview of the present status of theoretical knowledge on 1D physics, including coupling between chains and to the substrate, before we set out for experimental results on ordered arrays of atomic wires on both flat and vicinal Si(111) surfaces comprising Si(111)-In, Si(hhk)-Au, Si(557)-Pb, Si(557)-Ag, on Ge(001)-Au and of rare earth silicide wires... 

Surf. Sci. Rep. 79,  (2024)


Bias-free access to orbital angular momentum in two-dimensional quantum materials

The demonstration of a topological band inversion constitutes the most elementary proof of a quantum spin Hall insulator (QSHI). On a fundamental level, such an inverted band gap is intrinsically related to the bulk Berry curvature, a gauge-invariant fingerprint of the wave function’s quantum geometric properties in Hilbert space. Intimately tied to orbital angular momentum (OAM), the Berry curvature can be, in principle, extracted from circular dichroism in angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (CD-ARPES), were it not for interfering final state photoelectron emission channels that obscure the initial state OAM signature. Here, we outline a full-experimental strategy to avoid such interference artifacts and isolate the clean OAM from the CD-ARPES response. Bench-marking this strategy for the recently discovered atomic monolayer system indenene, we demonstrate its distinct QSHI character and establish CD-ARPES as a scalable bulk probe to experimentally classify the topology of two-dimensional quantum materials with time reversal symmetry

Phys. Rev. Lett. 132, 196401 (2024) Editors' suggestion


2024 roadmap on 2D topological insulators

2D topological insulators promise novel approaches towards electronic, spintronic, and quantum device applications. This is owing to unique features of their electronic band structure, in which bulk-boundary correspondences enforces the existence of 1D spin–momentum locked metallic edge states—both helical and chiral—surrounding an electrically insulating bulk. Forty years since the first discoveries of topological phases in condensed matter, the abstract concept of band topology has sprung into realization with several materials now available in which sizable bulk energy gaps—up to a few hundred meV—promise to enable topology for applications even at room-temperature. Further, the possibility of combining 2D TIs in heterostructures with functional materials such as multiferroics, ferromagnets, and superconductors, vastly extends the range of applicability beyond their intrinsic properties. While 2D TIs remain a unique testbed for questions of fundamental condensed matter physics, proposals seek to control the topologically protected bulk or boundary states electrically, or even induce topological phase transitions to engender switching functionality ...

J. Phys.: Mater. 7, 022501 (2024)


Research Groups

Nanophysics at surfaces

The research activities of our group are concerned with the physics of low-dimensional systems, where the electron states resulting from dimensional confinement lead to unusual conduction properties and to phase transitions as a function of temperature.

Oxide interfaces

Our group focusses on the electronic structure of correlated systems in transition metal oxides (TMOs). Special interest lies in the interplay of different degrees of freedom (charge, spin, orbital, lattice) in the light of metal-insulator and other phase transitions.

Neutron and resonant X-ray spectroscopy

In our group we investigate complex, functional materials such as transition metal oxides, which are used in the emerging field of correlated nanoelectronics. Unlike with conventional semiconductors, exotic superconducting, orbital and magnetic states can be realized at the interfaces in layered structures comprising such materials.