ERC Advanced Grant for Professor Bernhard Keimer for the project "Collective modes in 4d-metal compounds and heterostructures"
Ruthenium oxides and related materials have extremely diverse properties and functionalities – for instance as model materials for unconventional superconductivity, electrodes for electronic devices, and catalysts for chemical reactions. Bernhard Keimer's ERC project aims to elucidate the microscopic origin of these unusual properties. The influence of the so-called "spin-orbit coupling" will be of particular interest. This relativistic effect ties the microscopic magnetic moment of the conduction electrons ("spin") to their spatial motion ("orbit") in the solid. To this end, Bernhard Keimer's group will develop an instrument that will allow highly accurate measurements of the excited states of the electrons with finely tuned x-ray beams. This instrument will be installed at an intense x-ray source at the DESY Research Center in Hamburg. In a parallel effort, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart will use state-of-the-art methods to synthesize thin-film structures of ruthenium oxides, which can then be optimized based on the results of the x-ray experiments. The ultimate goal of this project is the targeted synthesis of materials systems with predefined functionality.