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SIMES researchers study complex, novel materials that could transform the energy landscape by making computing much more efficient or transmitting power over long distances with no loss, for instance.

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Polarons, bubbles of distortion in a perovskite lattice.

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Spiraling laser light reveals how topological insulators lose their ability to conduct electric current on their surfaces.

: Against a black background, thin, glowing red wires at top impinge on the hexagonal surface of a translucent mass. Small white dots travel along the edges of the surface in two directions. Within the mass, two orange cones meet at their tips.
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Waves of magnetic excitation sweep through this exciting new material whether it’s in superconducting mode or not – another possible clue to how unconventional...

A brightly colored top is seen spinning between two layers of gray, purple and red spheres representing atoms in a nickel oxide superconductor.
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Researchers discover they contain a phase of quantum matter, known as charge density waves, that’s common in other unconventional superconductors. In other ways, though...

Artist's illustration shows quantum states called superconductivity and charge density waves atop an atomic lattice of balls and sticks
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X-ray laser experiments show that intense light distorts the structure of a thermoelectric material in a unique way, opening a new avenue for controlling...

Illustration shows two ball-and-stick molecules in pink and red separated by a blurred streak representing how the first structure is slightly deformed into the second.
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The results cap 15 years of detective work aimed at understanding how these materials transition into a superconducting state where they can conduct electricity...

Conceptual illlustration showing a beam of light entering from the right and hitting a material, ejecting a sphere representing an electron
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Cryo-EM snapshots of the solid-electrolyte interphase, or SEI, reveal its natural swollen state and offer a new approach to lithium-metal battery design.

A battery's liquid electrolyte clings to small holes in a cryo-EM sample holder.
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Islands of inactive lithium creep like worms to reconnect with their electrodes, restoring a battery’s capacity and lifespan.

Conceptual illustration shows an EKG-like pulse of energy flatlining as it enters a battery, then coming back to life as it exits
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Topological insulators conduct electricity on their surfaces but not through their interiors. SLAC scientists discovered that high harmonic generation produces a unique signature from...

A counterclockwise pattern of swirling arrows This pattern of arrows representing the combined spin and momentum of electrons in the surface layer of a topological insulator
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Spawned by the spins of electrons in magnetic materials, these tiny whirlpools behave like independent particles and could be the future of computing. Experiments...

Illustration of skyrmions -- little whirlpools of magnetism formed by the spins of atoms.
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Much like crystallizing rock candy from sugar syrup, the new method grows 2D perovskites precisely layered with other 2D materials to produce crystals with...

Illustration of layers of 2D materials assembling themselves from chemicals tumbling in water
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The chemically controlled chains reveal an ultrastrong attraction between electrons that may help cuprate superconductors carry electrical current with no loss at relatively high...

An illustration showing a 1D chain of carbon and oxygen molecules with red springs representing natural vibrations in their atomic lattice.
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Anchoring individual iridium atoms on the surface of a catalytic particle boosted its performance in carrying out a reaction that’s been a bottleneck for...

Alt text: Illustration showing surface of a catalyst as a lattice work of atoms, with single iridium molecules held above it on tiny 8-sided structures to facilitate splitting of water molecules seen floating above