How do collective interactions emerge? Superconducting and ferroic systems at the nanoscale

TYPELow-Temp seminar
Speaker:Yachin Ivry
Location:Lidow Nathan Rosen (300)


Understanding the competition between order and disorder in nature is a major task in physics. Such competition conveniently
exists in disordered systems that exhibit a phase transition, which is 
accompanied by a sudden emergence of ordered collective
interactions of the participating particles. Hence, realising the onset of 
‘collectiveness’ in such systems, mainly in the solid state, has become an
important goal by itself. In particular, the nanoscale behaviour of superconductors and ferroics serves as an elegant platform for, at last, addressing the order-disorder competition directly. Moreover, realisation of the underlying mechanism of these functional systems is significant also technologically because they enable advanced applications, such as energy-efficient memory devices, high-performance single IR photon detectors, wireless communication and quantum communication and computation.1

We will discuss the ferroelectric size-dependence that has been realised with a high-resolution ferroic domain imaging tool (functional atomic-force microscopy) that I developed.2,3 Specifically, I will introduce recently-discovered hybrid ferroelectric-ferroelastic domain types, each of which is stable at a different typical length-scale.4 Moreover, I will show how the revealed coexistence of these domains assists us in resolving the dispute over the ferroelectric domain switching mechanism (nucleation and growth versus nucleation-frustrated).5 Likewise, size effects in superconductivity near the superconducting-to-insulating transition will be presented, mainly by introducing a recently-found universal scaling law and discussing its origin.6 I will demonstrate how the discovered universality predicts the superconducting behaviour at the nanoscale and facilitates advanced nano-superconducting systems (e.g. graphene-superconductor hybrids). In addition, I will introduce devices that benefit and result from the above discoveries, such as improved single photon detectors7 and switching devices,2 thermal sensors8 and programmable RF electro-mechanical resonators.9

Finally, I will examine future avenues for exposing the onset of collective interactions in superconducting and ferroic systems that are a direct continuation of the above work.


1. J. F. Scott Science 315 954 (2007); F. Marsili et al. Nano Lett 11 2048 (2011).

2. Y. Ivry et al. APL. 94 162903 (2009); Y. Ivry et al. (In press, Springer, 2014);

3. Y. Ivry et al. PRL 104 207602 (2010); C. Durkan et al. APL 97 046102 (2010).

4. Y. Ivry et al. Nanotech 21 065702 (2010); Y. Ivry et al. Nano Lett 11 4619 (2011); Y. Ivry et al. Adv Funct Mater 21 1827 (2011); Y. Ivry et al. Adv Funct Mater 24 5567 (2014).

5. Y. Ivry et al. PRB 86 205428 (2012); Y. Ivry et al. PRB 81 174118 (2010);

6. Y. Ivry et al. arXiv1407.5945 [In press PRB (2014)].

7. Q. Zhao et al. APL 103, 142602 (2013); Q. Zhao et al. Opt Exp 22 24574 (2014);

8. Y. Ivry et al. APL 90 172905 (2007);

9. Y. Ivry et al. APL 104 133505 (2014).