Metamaterials are composed of periodic subwavelength metal/dielectric structures that resonantly couple to the electric and/or magnetic components of the incident electromagnetic fields, exhibiting properties that are not found in nature. This class of micro-and nano-structured artificial media have attracted great interest during the past 15 years and yielded ground-breaking electromagnetic and photonic phenomena. However, the high losses and strong dispersion associated with the resonant responses and the use of metallic structures, as well as the difficulty in fabricating the micro-and nanoscale 3D structures, have hindered practical applications of metamaterials. Planar metamaterials with subwavelength thickness, or metasurfaces, consisting of single-layer or few-layer stacks of planar structures, can be readily fabricated using lithography and nanoprinting methods, and the ultrathin thickness in the wave propagation direction can greatly suppress the undesirable losses. Metasurfaces enable a spatially varying optical response (e.g. scattering amplitude, phase, and polarization), mold optical wavefronts into shapes that can be designed at will, and facilitate the integration of functional materials to accomplish active control and greatly enhanced nonlinear response. This paper reviews recent progress in the physics of metasurfaces operating at wavelengths ranging from microwave to visible. We provide an overview of key metasurface concepts such as anomalous reflection and refraction, and introduce metasurfaces based on the Pancharatnam-Berry phase and Huygens' metasurfaces, as well as their use in wavefront shaping and beam forming applications, followed by a discussion of polarization conversion in few-layer metasurfaces and their related properties. An overview of dielectric metasurfaces reveals their ability to realize unique functionalities coupled with Mie resonances and their low ohmic losses. We also describe metasurfaces for wave guidance and radiation control, as well as active and nonlinear metasurfaces. Finally, we conclude by providing our opinions of opportunities and challenges in this rapidly developing research field.
Gauge fields are central in our modern understanding of physics at all scales. At the highest energy scales known, the microscopic universe is governed by particles interacting with each other through the exchange of gauge bosons. At the largest length scales, our Universe is ruled by gravity, whose gauge structure suggests the existence of a particle-the graviton-that mediates the gravitational force. At the mesoscopic scale, solid-state systems are subjected to gauge fields of different nature: materials can be immersed in external electromagnetic fields, but they can also feature emerging gauge fields in their low-energy description. In this review, we focus on another kind of gauge field: those engineered in systems of ultracold neutral atoms. In these setups, atoms are suitably coupled to laser fields that generate effective gauge potentials in their description. Neutral atoms 'feeling' laser-induced gauge potentials can potentially mimic the behavior of an electron gas subjected to a magnetic field, but also, the interaction of elementary particles with non-Abelian gauge fields. Here, we review different realized and proposed techniques for creating gauge potentials-both Abelian and non-Abelian-in atomic systems and discuss their implication in the context of quantum simulation. While most of these setups concern the realization of background and classical gauge potentials, we conclude with more exotic proposals where these synthetic fields might be made dynamical, in view of simulating interacting gauge theories with cold atoms.
Quantum spin liquids may be considered 'quantum disordered' ground states of spin systems, in which zero-point fluctuations are so strong that they prevent conventional magnetic longrange order. More interestingly, quantum spin liquids are prototypical examples of ground states with massive many-body entanglement, which is of a degree sufficient to render these states distinct phases of matter. Their highly entangled nature imbues quantum spin liquids with unique physical aspects, such as non-local excitations, topological properties, and more. In this review, we discuss the nature of such phases and their properties based on paradigmatic models and general arguments, and introduce theoretical technology such as gauge theory and partons, which are conveniently used in the study of quantum spin liquids. An overview is given of the different types of quantum spin liquids and the models and theories used to describe them. We also provide a guide to the current status of experiments in relation to study quantum spin liquids, and to the diverse probes used therein.
The 1937 theoretical discovery of Majorana fermions-whose defining property is that they are their own anti-particles-has since impacted diverse problems ranging from neutrino physics and dark matter searches to the fractional quantum Hall effect and superconductivity. Despite this long history the unambiguous observation of Majorana fermions nevertheless remains an outstanding goal. This review paper highlights recent advances in the condensed matter search for Majorana that have led many in the field to believe that this quest may soon bear fruit. We begin by introducing in some detail exotic 'topological' one- and two-dimensional superconductors that support Majorana fermions at their boundaries and at vortices. We then turn to one of the key insights that arose during the past few years; namely, that it is possible to 'engineer' such exotic superconductors in the laboratory by forming appropriate heterostructures with ordinary s-wave superconductors. Numerous proposals of this type are discussed, based on diverse materials such as topological insulators, conventional semiconductors, ferromagnetic metals and many others. The all-important question of how one experimentally detects Majorana fermions in these setups is then addressed. We focus on three classes of measurements that provide smoking-gun Majorana signatures: tunneling, Josephson effects and interferometry. Finally, we discuss the most remarkable properties of condensed matter Majorana fermions-the non-Abelian exchange statistics that they generate and their associated potential for quantum computation.
Stochastic thermodynamics as reviewed here systematically provides a framework for extending the notions of classical thermodynamics such as work, heat and entropy production to the level of individual trajectories of well-defined non-equilibrium ensembles. It applies whenever a non-equilibrium process is still coupled to one (or several) heat bath(s) of constant temperature. Paradigmatic systems are single colloidal particles in time-dependent laser traps, polymers in external flow, enzymes and molecular motors in single molecule assays, small biochemical networks and thermoelectric devices involving single electron transport. For such systems, a first-law like energy balance can be identified along fluctuating trajectories. For a basic Markovian dynamics implemented either on the continuum level with Langevin equations or on a discrete set of states as a master equation, thermodynamic consistency imposes a local-detailed balance constraint on noise and rates, respectively. Various integral and detailed fluctuation theorems, which are derived here in a unifying approach from one master theorem, constrain the probability distributions for work, heat and entropy production depending on the nature of the system and the choice of non-equilibrium conditions. For non-equilibrium steady states, particularly strong results hold like a generalized fluctuation-dissipation theorem involving entropy production. Ramifications and applications of these concepts include optimal driving between specified states in finite time, the role of measurement-based feedback processes and the relation between dissipation and irreversibility. Efficiency and, in particular, efficiency at maximum power can be discussed systematically beyond the linear response regime for two classes of molecular machines, isothermal ones such as molecular motors, and heat engines such as thermoelectric devices, using a common framework based on a cycle decomposition of entropy production.
Locomotion and transport of microorganisms in fluids is an essential aspect of life. Search for food, orientation toward light, spreading of off-spring, and the formation of colonies are only possible due to locomotion. Swimming at the microscale occurs at low Reynolds numbers, where fluid friction and viscosity dominates over inertia. Here, evolution achieved propulsion mechanisms, which overcome and even exploit drag. Prominent propulsion mechanisms are rotating helical flagella, exploited by many bacteria, and snake-like or whip-like motion of eukaryotic flagella, utilized by sperm and algae. For artificial microswimmers, alternative concepts to convert chemical energy or heat into directed motion can be employed, which are potentially more efficient. The dynamics of microswimmers comprises many facets, which are all required to achieve locomotion. In this article, we review the physics of locomotion of biological and synthetic microswimmers, and the collective behavior of their assemblies. Starting from individual microswimmers, we describe the various propulsion mechanism of biological and synthetic systems and address the hydrodynamic aspects of swimming. This comprises synchronization and the concerted beating of flagella and cilia. In addition, the swimming behavior next to surfaces is examined. Finally, collective and cooperate phenomena of various types of isotropic and anisotropic swimmers with and without hydrodynamic interactions are discussed.
In this review we look at the concepts and state-of-the-art concerning the strong coupling of surface plasmon-polariton modes to states associated with quantum emitters such as excitons in J-aggregates, dye molecules and quantum dots. We explore the phenomenon of strong coupling with reference to a number of examples involving electromagnetic fields and matter. We then provide a concise description of the relevant background physics of surface plasmon polaritons. An extensive overview of the historical background and a detailed discussion of more recent relevant experimental advances concerning strong coupling between surface plasmon polaritons and quantum emitters is then presented. Three conceptual frameworks are then discussed and compared in depth: classical, semi-classical and fully quantum mechanical; these theoretical frameworks will have relevance to strong coupling beyond that involving surface plasmon polaritons. We conclude our review with a perspective on the future of this rapidly emerging field, one we are sure will grow to encompass more intriguing physics and will develop in scope to be of relevance to other areas of science.
Over recent decades, the role of torsion in gravity has been extensively investigated along the main direction of bringing gravity closer to its gauge formulation and incorporating spin in a geometric description. Here we review various torsional constructions, from teleparallel, to Einstein-Cartan, and metric-affine gauge theories, resulting in extending torsional gravity in the paradigm of f(T) gravity, where f(T) is an arbitrary function of the torsion scalar. Based on this theory, we further review the corresponding cosmological and astrophysical applications. In particular, we study cosmological solutions arising from f(T) gravity, both at the background and perturbation levels, in different eras along the cosmic expansion. The f(T) gravity construction can provide a theoretical interpretation of the late-time universe acceleration, alternative to a cosmological constant, and it can easily accommodate with the regular thermal expanding history including the radiation and cold dark matter dominated phases. Furthermore, if one traces back to very early times, for a certain class of f(T) models, a sufficiently long period of inflation can be achieved and hence can be investigated by cosmic microwave background observations-or, alternatively, the Big Bang singularity can be avoided at even earlier moments due to the appearance of non-singular bounces. Various observational constraints, especially the bounds coming from the large-scale structure data in the case of f(T) cosmology, as well as the behavior of gravitational waves, are described in detail. Moreover, the spherically symmetric and black hole solutions of the theory are reviewed. Additionally, we discuss various extensions of the f(T) paradigm. Finally, we consider the relation with other modified gravitational theories, such as those based on curvature, like f(R) gravity, trying to illuminate the subject of which formulation, or combination of formulations, might be more suitable for quantization ventures and cosmological applications.
Plasmonic photocatalysis has recently facilitated the rapid progress in enhancing photocatalytic efficiency under visible light irradiation, increasing the prospect of using sunlight for environmental and energy applications such as wastewater treatment, water splitting and carbon dioxide reduction. Plasmonic photocatalysis makes use of noble metal nanoparticles dispersed into semiconductor photocatalysts and possesses two prominent features-a Schottky junction and localized surface plasmonic resonance (LSPR). The former is of benefit to charge separation and transfer whereas the latter contributes to the strong absorption of visible light and the excitation of active charge carriers. This article aims to provide a systematic study of the fundamental physical mechanisms of plasmonic photocatalysis and to rationalize many experimental observations. In particular, we show that LSPR could boost the generation of electrons and holes in semiconductor photocatalysts through two different effects-the LSPR sensitization effect and the LSPR-powered bandgap breaking effect. By classifying the plasmonic photocatalytic systems in terms of their contact form and irradiation state, we show that the enhancement effects on different properties of photocatalysis can be well-explained and systematized. Moreover, we identify popular material systems of plasmonic photocatalysis that have shown excellent performance and elucidate their key features in the context of our proposed mechanisms and classifications.
This paper describes the physics case for a new fixed target facility at CERN SPS. The SHiP (search for hidden particles) experiment is intended to hunt for new physics in the largely unexplored domain of very weakly interacting particles with masses below the Fermi scale, inaccessible to the LHC experiments, and to study tau neutrino physics. The same proton beam setup can be used later to look for decays of tau-leptons with lepton flavour number non-conservation, tau -> 3 mu and to search for weakly-interacting sub-GeV dark matter candidates. We discuss the evidence for physics beyond the standard model and describe interactions between new particles and four different portals-scalars, vectors, fermions or axion-like particles. We discuss motivations for different models, manifesting themselves via these interactions, and how they can be probed with the SHiP experiment and present several case studies. The prospects to search for relatively light SUSY and composite particles at SHiP are also discussed. We demonstrate that the SHiP experiment has a unique potential to discover new physics and can directly probe a number of solutions of beyond the standard model puzzles, such as neutrino masses, baryon asymmetry of the Universe, dark matter, and inflation.
We review selected advances in the theoretical understanding of complex quantum many-body systems with regard to emergent notions of quantum statistical mechanics. We cover topics such as equilibration and thermalisation in pure state statistical mechanics, the eigenstate thermalisation hypothesis, the equivalence of ensembles, non-equilibration dynamics following global and local quenches as well as ramps. We also address initial state independence, absence of thermalisation, and many-body localisation. We elucidate the role played by key concepts for these phenomena, such as Lieb-Robinson bounds, entanglement growth, typicality arguments, quantum maximum entropy principles and the generalised Gibbs ensembles, and quantum (non-)integrability. We put emphasis on rigorous approaches and present the most important results in a unified language.
This review elaborates pedagogically on the fundamental concept, basic theory, expected properties, and materials realizations of topological superconductors. The relation between topological superconductivity and Majorana fermions are explained, and the difference between dispersive Majorana fermions and a localized Majorana zero mode is emphasized. A variety of routes to topological superconductivity are explained with an emphasis on the roles of spin-orbit coupling. Present experimental situations and possible signatures of topological superconductivity are summarized with an emphasis on intrinsic topological superconductors.
A density functional theory (DFT) that accounts for van der Waals (vdW) interactions in condensed matter, materials physics, chemistry, and biology is reviewed. The insights that led to the construction of the Rutgers-Chalmers van der Waals density functional (vdW-DF) are presented with the aim of giving a historical perspective, while also emphasizing more recent efforts which have sought to improve its accuracy. In addition to technical details, we discuss a range of recent applications that illustrate the necessity of including dispersion interactions in DFT. This review highlights the value of the vdW-DF method as a general-purpose method, not only for dispersion bound systems, but also in densely packed systems where these types of interactions are traditionally thought to be negligible.
A ubiquitous observation in cell biology is that the diffusive motion of macromolecules and organelles is anomalous, and a description simply based on the conventional diffusion equation with diffusion constants measured in dilute solution fails. This is commonly attributed to macromolecular crowding in the interior of cells and in cellular membranes, summarizing their densely packed and heterogeneous structures. The most familiar phenomenon is a sublinear, power-law increase of the mean-square displacement (MSD) as a function of the lag time, but there are other manifestations like strongly reduced and time-dependent diffusion coefficients, persistent correlations in time, non-Gaussian distributions of spatial displacements, heterogeneous diffusion and a fraction of immobile particles. After a general introduction to the statistical description of slow, anomalous transport, we summarize some widely used theoretical models: Gaussian models like fractional Brownian motion and Langevin equations for visco-elastic media, the continuous-time random walk model, and the Lorentz model describing obstructed transport in a heterogeneous environment. Particular emphasis is put on the spatio-temporal properties of the transport in terms of two-point correlation functions, dynamic scaling behaviour, and how the models are distinguished by their propagators even if the MSDs are identical. Then, we review the theory underlying commonly applied experimental techniques in the presence of anomalous transport like single-particle tracking, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP). We report on the large body of recent experimental evidence for anomalous transport in crowded biological media: in cyto- and nucleoplasm as well as in cellular membranes, complemented by in vitro experiments where a variety of model systems mimic physiological crowding conditions. Finally, computer simulations are discussed which play an important role in testing the theoretical models and corroborating the experimental findings. The review is completed by a synthesis of the theoretical and experimental progress identifying open questions for future investigation.
The recently discovered Fe-pnictide and chalcogenide superconductors display low-temperature properties suggesting superconducting gap structures which appear to vary substantially from family to family, and even within families as a function of doping or pressure. We propose that this apparent nonuniversality can actually be understood by considering the predictions of spin fluctuation theory and accounting for the peculiar electronic structure of these systems, coupled with the likely 'sign-changing s-wave' (s(+/-)) symmetry. We review theoretical aspects, materials properties and experimental evidence relevant to this suggestion, and discuss which further measurements would be useful to settle these issues.
The isolated electronic spin system of the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centre in diamond offers unique possibilities to be employed as a nanoscale sensor for detection and imaging of weak magnetic fields. Magnetic imaging with nanometric resolution and field detection capabilities in the nanotesla range are enabled by the atomic-size and exceptionally long spin-coherence times of this naturally occurring defect. The exciting perspectives that ensue from these characteristics have triggered vivid experimental activities in the emerging field of 'NV magnetometry'. It is the purpose of this article to review the recent progress in high-sensitivity nanoscale NV magnetometry, generate an overview of the most pertinent results of the last years and highlight perspectives for future developments. We will present the physical principles that allow for magnetic field detection with NV centres and discuss first applications of NV magnetometers that have been demonstrated in the context of nano magnetism, mesoscopic physics and the life sciences.
We present a comprehensive and up-to-date review of the concept of quantum non-Markovianity, a central theme in the theory of open quantum systems. We introduce the concept of a quantum Markovian process as a generalization of the classical definition of Markovianity via the so-called divisibility property and relate this notion to the intuitive idea that links non-Markovianity with the persistence of memory effects. A detailed comparison with other definitions presented in the literature is provided. We then discuss several existing proposals to quantify the degree of non-Markovianity of quantum dynamics and to witness non-Markovian behavior, the latter providing sufficient conditions to detect deviations from strict Markovianity. Finally, we conclude by enumerating some timely open problems in the field and provide an outlook on possible research directions.
Multiferroics, compounds with both magnetic and ferroelectric orders, are believed to be a key material system to achieve cross-control between magnetism and electricity in a solid with minute energy dissipation. Such a colossal magnetoelectric (ME) effect has been an issue of keen interest for a long time in condensed matter physics as well as a most desired function in the emerging spin-related electronics. Here we begin with the basic mechanisms to realize multiferroicity or spin-driven ferroelectricity in magnetic materials, which have recently been clarified and proved both theoretically and experimentally. According to the proposed mechanisms, many families of multiferroics have been explored, found (re-discovered), and newly developed, realizing a variety of colossal ME controls. We overview versatile multiferroics from the viewpoints of their multiferroicity mechanisms and their fundamental ME characteristics on the basis of the recent advances in exploratory materials. One of the new directions in multiferroic science is the dynamical ME effect, namely the dynamical and/or fast cross-control between electric and magnetic dipoles in a solid. We argue here that the dynamics of multiferroic domain walls significantly contributes to the amplification of ME response, which has been revealed through the dielectric spectroscopy. Another related issue is the electric-dipole-active magnetic resonance, called electromagnons. The electromagnons can provide a new stage of ME optics via resonant coupling with the external electromagnetic wave (light). Finally, we give concluding remarks on multiferroics physics in the light of a broader perspective from the emergent electromagnetism in a solid as well as from the possible application toward future dissipationless electronics.
The resistance switching behaviour of several materials has recently attracted considerable attention for its application in non-volatile memory (NVM) devices, popularly described as resistive random access memories (RRAMs). RRAM is a type of NVM that uses a material(s) that changes the resistance when a voltage is applied. Resistive switching phenomena have been observed in many oxides: (i) binary transition metal oxides (TMOs), e. g. TiO2, Cr2O3, FeOx and NiO; (ii) perovskite-type complex TMOs that are variously functional, paraelectric, ferroelectric, multiferroic and magnetic, e. g. (Ba,Sr)TiO3, Pb(ZrxTi1-x)O-3, BiFeO3 and PrxCa1-xMnO3; (iii) large band gap high-k dielectrics, e. g. Al2O3 and Gd2O3; (iv) graphene oxides. In the non-oxide category, higher chalcogenides are front runners, e. g. In2Se3 and In2Te3. Hence, the number of materials showing this technologically interesting behaviour for information storage is enormous. Resistive switching in these materials can form the basis for the next generation of NVM, i. e. RRAM, when current semiconductor memory technology reaches its limit in terms of density. RRAMs may be the high-density and low-cost NVMs of the future. A review on this topic is of importance to focus concentration on the most promising materials to accelerate application into the semiconductor industry. This review is a small effort to realize the ambitious goal of RRAMs. Its basic focus is on resistive switching in various materials with particular emphasis on binary TMOs. It also addresses the current understanding of resistive switching behaviour. Moreover, a brief comparison between RRAMs and memristors is included. The review ends with the current status of RRAMs in terms of stability, scalability and switching speed, which are three important aspects of integration onto semiconductors.