“Electron (De) Localization in f-Element Systems: From Fundamental Questions to QIS Design Principles”
Abstract: The La Pierre group studies how collective magnetic, physical, and chemical properties arise from electron (de)localization phenomena in f-element systems. Our studies include the development of solid-state and solution methodologies for the synthesis of novel lanthanide and actinide (Th – Pu) materials and complexes. These synthetic efforts are paired with synchrotron and neutron spectroscopies and physical property studies to break down the challenge of understanding the electronic structure of f-element systems. Particularly in solid-state systems, the f-elements present unique valence electronic structures due the near degeneracies engendered in these systems and strong electron correlation. Our efforts to-date have focused on the synthesis and analysis of systems governed by one of three phenomena: magnetic super-exchange (i.e. exchange coupled systems), multi-configurational electronic structures (ground state degeneracy including hybridization with ligand/band states), and mixed-valence metal ions (i.e. mixed f/d occupancy and mixed-oxidation states). Understanding and controlling the manifestation of these phenomena in molecular systems is crucial for understanding the interplay of these phenomena underpinning topological insulators such as SmB6 and PuB6 and superconductors such as CeCoIn5 and PuCoGa5. In turn, the group has employed this expanded fundamental understanding of f-element electronic structure to construct components of quantum information technologies (e.g. qubits, single-molecule magnets).