Recent Publications

Real-space obstruction in quantum spin Hall insulators

The recently introduced classification of two-dimensional insulators in terms of topological crystalline invariants has been applied so far to “obstructed” atomic insulators characterized by a mismatch between the centers of the electronic Wannier functions and the ionic positions. We extend this notion to quantum spin Hall insulators in which the ground state cannot be described in terms of time-reversal symmetric localized Wannier functions. A system equivalent to graphene in all its relevant electronic and topological properties except for a real-space obstruction is identified and studied via symmetry analysis as well as with density functional theory. The low-energy model comprises a local spin-orbit coupling and a nonlocal symmetry breaking potential, which turn out to be the essential ingredients for an obstructed quantum spin Hall insulator. [...]

Phys. Rev. B  106, 195143 (2022)

A toy model for dichroism in angle resolved photoemission

Angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) measures the interference of dipole allowed Coulomb wavelets from the individual orbital emitters that contribute to an electronic band. If Coulomb scattering of the outgoing electron is neglected, this Huygens view of ARPES simplifies to a Fraunhofer diffraction experiment, and the relevant cross-sections to orbital Fourier transforms. This plane wave approximation (PWA) is surprisingly descriptive of photoelectron distributions, but fails to reproduce kinetic energy dependent final state effects like dichroism. Yet, Huygens principle of ARPES can be parsimoniously adapted to allow for distortion and phase shift of the outgoing Coulomb wave. This retains the strong physical intuition and low computational cost of the PWA, but naturally captures momentum dependent interference phenomena that so far required relativistic one-step modeling, such as linear dichroism in Rashba systems BiAg and AgTe.

J. Electron Spectrosc. Relat. Phenom. 262, 147278 (2023)

Specific Capacitance of RuO2(110) Depends Sensitively on Surface Order

We report the specific capacitance, Cs, of variously ordered RuO2(110) surfaces measured in a 1 M H2SO4 electrolyte with unprecedented precision. Employing ∼10 nm thick, atomically flat epitaxial RuO2 films along with a geometric surface area-controlled electrochemical cell, we determine an upper limit of Cs = (35.35 ± 0.53) μFcm–2 of the idealized, i.e., well-ordered and stoichiometric RuO2(110) surface by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and scan-rate-dependent cyclic voltammetry. We demonstrate, however, that a slight decrease in surface quality immediately translates into pronounced cyclo-voltammetric differences and a significant increase of Cs. This needs to be considered when determining electrochemically active surface areas (ECSAs) of geometrically ill-defined RuO2 catalysts─a benchmark to measure electrochemical performance─from their measured double-layer capacitance.

J. Phys. Chem. C 2023, 127, 7, 3682–3688


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.