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Claus DanielPeter Maksymovych

As described in the Science paper, Maksymovych and his colleagues showed that the local conductance can be controlled by switching this ferroelectric polarization. The polarization provides two memory states, and the conductance provides the way to read this memory.

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Double Feature: EFRCsPolarization Control of Electron Tunneling into Ferroelectric Surfaces

Recent work by Petro Maksymovych and his colleagues at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences on ferroelectric oxides that has led to the discovery that polarization switching in 30-50 nm oxide films of lead-zirconate and bismuth ferrite can abruptly change their local electrical conductivity by as much as 50,000%.  Polarization-dependent electron tunneling was first hypothesized by Leo Esaki almost 30 years ago, but has so far been elusive due to the dominance of extrinsic conductance mechanisms in complex oxides such as oxygen vacancy diffusion and formation of localized conductive filaments.  Using a unique scanning force microscope developed at the CNMS, the researchers investigated the nanoscale conductivity of epitaxially grown perovskite ferroelectrics.

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The national lab setting versus academia -  “I like it. It’s different, it has its pros and cons. There is much less manpower, but at the same time research is in some ways more professional, if I may put it like that. You work with people who are way past their degree training, and so they typically know quite a lot about what they’re doing now, on the very deep expert level.  So you can learn from that a lot. And the challenge, actually, is to offer something back that would be rated by these people as something interesting. And that’s good; it keeps you fresh and alive.”
– Peter Maksymovych

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Dimensions
  • Issue 2  |
  • January 2010
  • Even Superheavies Need a Little Protection

    Exploring the cosmic Origin of the ElementsHow heavy can the periodic table go? Scientists have long had the capability to create new, “superheavy” elements by fusing lighter nuclei. The existence of a system formed in a heavy-ion fusion reaction is often brief, however, because the nucleus heats up in the process and must find a way to shed energy and cool back down to a more stable state.

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  • Computer-Aided Design Self-Assembled Cage Tailor-made for Sulfate

    The first portion of the MINERvA neutrino detector As recently reported in Angewandte Chemie and highlighted in the Chemistry World magazine (http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2009/April/27040901.asp) computer-aided design can effectively guide the construction of self-assembled nanoscale containers with predetermined functionality. Specifically, with the help of molecular modeling, a cage receptor functionalized for optimal encapsulation and efficient sequestration of sulfate from water was efficiently crafted.

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  • Open Cage Fullerene-like Graphitic Carbons as Catalysts for Oxidative Dehydrogenation of Isobutane

    Carol BrutonA team of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has demonstrated that the open edges of fullerene-like features in carbon catalysts are the sites responsible for catalytic activity in oxidative dehydrogenation reactions. The result can be attributed to the use of synthetic carbon catalysts where the relative amount of the nanoscale structural features can be manipulated and correlated with catalytic performance.

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  • Bridging the Gap for More Solar Energy

    Evgeniy MyshakinConverting the abundant energy of the sun into a form convenient for human consumption is the ultimate dream for sustainable generation of environmentally clean energy.  Since the seminal discovery by Fujishima and Honda in the early 1970s, titanium oxide (TiO2), an inexpensive white pigment widely used in daily life, has been considered as the most promising photocatalyst for solar energy utilization and environmental cleanup.

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