S. H. Curnoe

Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's, Nfld.
A1B 3X7

Telephone: (709) 864-8888
Facsimile: (709) 864-8739
Office: Room C3003 Chemistry-Physics Building

B. Sc. University of Toronto 1991
Ph. D. University of British Columbia 1997
Postdoc, Weizmann Institute of Science 1997-1999
Research Associate, University of Toronto 1999-2000
Postdoc, Tokyo University 2000-2001
Faculty, Memorial University of Newfoundland 2001-

Research - Condensed Matter Theory

I study electronic, magnetic and structural properties of solid state materials. Here are a couple of recent topics.

Tb2Ti2O7: Quantum spin configurations

Tb2Ti2O7 is a spin liquid which persists to very low temperatures, T< 50 mK. The rare earth (terbium) ions sit on the vertices of a corner-shared tetrahedral network. The ground state of the Tb spins is doubly degenerate, which can be visualised as classical spins that point into or out of the tetrahedra. However, these spins are not classical in any approximation. First, diffuse neutron scattering can only be explained if there are "quantum fluctuations" of the spins, that is, some probability that they can point in other directions. Second, the actual spin configuration is quite unlike the one shown. Rather, it is a linear combination of all similar-looking states such that the different spins states are entangled.

Pr-filled Skutterudites: Unconventional Superconductivity

The materials RT4X12 are known as "filled skutterudites", where R is a rare earth element (La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Eu, Yb), T are transition elements (Fe, Ru or Os) and X are pnicogens (P, As or Sb). The pnicogens form the octahedra, with the transition element inside, and the spaces between octahedra are filled by the rare earth elements. The materials in this series exhibit a wide range of behaviour: superconductivity in the La-compounds, semiconductivity in the Ce-compounds, non-magnetic ordering and Kondo behaviour in the Pr-compounds, and ferromagnetism in the Nd- and Eu-compounds.

PrOs4Sb12 is the first Pr-based heavy fermion superconductor and the first among the family of filled skutterudite compounds. The superconducting order parameter is thought to be unconventional: it involves spin-triplet pairing of the electrons with broken time reversal symmetry. This leads to a very unusual superconducting gap function, with two different branches (centre). The lower branch of the gap function has four nodes which do not occur on lines of high symmetry (right).


Group Members
Chen Wei
Khawla Elfied
Imran Khan

Physics 4850 Fall 2016 Quantum Mechanics
Physics 490A Fall 2016 Honours Thesis


MUN Physics & Physical Oceanography

This file created 1997, last updated on September 6, 2016