Here to give her expert opinion is Irina Piyanzina, PhD candidate and one of the recent winners of Russian Government Scholarship.
Ms. Piyanzina is a Junior Research Associate at the Computer Design of New Materials Lab of the Institute of Physics and an Assistant Lecturer at the Department of General Physics. She received the scholarship for excellence in research about which she says, “I study heterointerfaces based on the oxides of transition metals. Heterostructures are systems consisting of two or more different chemical compounds. In particular, the LaAlO3 plus SrTiO3 system is currently the most well-studied because it has both the conducting 2D electron gas and magnetism. Another area of my research is the optical properties of azobenzene derivatives. I use ab initio modelling, i.e. a number of quantum chemistry calculations and physical approximations. And I also study phase transitions in polymers through molecular dynamics”.
As Ms. Piyanzina noted, after the discovery of high-temperature superconductivity much effort has been given to studying strongly correlated electrons in the oxides of transition metals. Different adulterants, crystalline defects, external electric and magnetic fields, light, pressure – everything can be used to manage properties of such compounds. She added, “Heterostructures – the systems of different compounds on the border of which a highly mobile 2D electron gas can appear – are very interesting in this regard. Also, a structural transformation happens during the growth of a heterostructure that leads to a number of unusual properties, such as high-temperature superconductivity, multiferroics magnetism and electricity, high magnetoresistance”. The discovery of conductivity in the LaAlO3/SrTiO3 systems in 2004 gave a huge boost to research.
Ms. Piyanzina also said, «There is still no universal theory to explain those properties. Furthermore, there is an immense number of possible heterostructures. So there is a high possibility of discovering some new phenomena».
Ms. Piyanzina’s research is of high practical significance. The productivity of simple CMOS transistors recently reached its plateau. New materials for electronics are needed. Oxides of transition metals are characterized by strong correlations which lead to ferromagnetism and superconductivity. So the creation of high-density nanoelectronics based on these materials became possible.
«I cooperate with University of Augsburg in layered heterointerfaces and with ISMANS and University of Maine – in azobenzene and derivatives», Ms. Piyanzina informed us.
Before winning the Russian Government Scholarship she was also a DAAD Scholarship laureate. Ms. Piyanzina’s research has appeared in peer-reviewed publications.