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  1. α-RuCl3 is considered to be the top candidate material for the experimental realization of the celebrated Kitaev model, where ground states are quantum spin liquids with interesting fractionalized excitations. It is, however, known that additional interactions beyond the Kitaev model trigger in α-RuCl3 a long-range zigzag antiferromagnetic ground state. In this work, we investigate a nanoflake of α-RuCl3 through guarded high impedance measurements aimed at reaching the regime where the system turns into a zigzag antiferromagnet. We investigated a variety of temperatures (1.45–175 K) and out-of-plane magnetic fields (up to 11 T), finding a clear signature of a structural phase transition at ≈160 K as reported for thin crystals of α-RuCl3, as well as a thermally activated behavior at temperatures above ≈30 K, with a characteristic activation energy significantly smaller than the energy gap that we observe for α-RuCl3 bulk crystals through our angle resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) experiments. Additionally, we found that below ≈30 K, transport is ruled by Efros–Shklovskii variable range hopping (VRH). Most importantly, our data show that below the magnetic ordering transition known for bulk α-RuCl3 in the frame of the Kitaev–Heisenberg model (≈7 K), there is a clear deviation from VRH or thermal activation transport mechanisms. Our work demonstrates the possibility of reaching, through specialized high impedance measurements, the thrilling ground states predicted for α-RuCl3 at low temperatures in the frame of the Kitaev–Heisenberg model and informs about the transport mechanisms in this material in a wide temperature range. 
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  2. Abstract The formation of a charge density wave state is characterized by an order parameter. The way it is established provides unique information on both the role that correlation plays in driving the charge density wave formation and the mechanism behind its formation. Here we use time and angle resolved photoelectron spectroscopy to optically perturb the charge-density phase in 1T-TiSe $$_2$$ 2  and follow the recovery of its order parameter as a function of energy, momentum and excitation density. Our results reveal that two distinct orders contribute to the gap formation, a CDW order and pseudogap-like order, manifested by an overall robustness to optical excitation. A detailed analysis of the magnitude of the the gap as a function of excitation density and delay time reveals the excitonic long-range nature of the CDW gap and the short-range Jahn–Teller character of the pseudogap order. In contrast to the gap, the intensity of the folded Se $$_{4p}$$ 4 p * band can only give access to the excitonic order. These results provide new information into the the long standing debate on the origin of the gap in TiSe $$_2$$ 2  and place it in the same context of other quantum materials where a pseudogap phase appears to be a precursor of long-range order. 
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  3. Abstract

    The future of modern optoelectronics and spintronic devices relies on our ability to control the spin and charge degrees of freedom at ultrafast timescales. Rashba spin-split quantum well states, 2D states that develop at the surface of strong spin-orbit coupling materials, are ideal given the tunability of their energy and spin states. So far, however, most studies have only demonstrated such control in a static way. In this study, we demonstrate control of the spin and energy degrees of freedom of surface quantum well states on Bi2Se3at picosecond timescales. By means of a focused laser pulse, we modulate the band-bending, producing picosecond time-varying electric fields at the material’s surface, thereby reversibly modulating the quantum well spectrum and Rashba effect. Moreover, we uncover a dynamic quasi-Fermi level, dependent on the Lifshitz transition of the second quantum well band bottom. These results open a pathway for light-driven spintronic devices with ultrafast switching of electronic phases, and offer the interesting prospect to extend this ultrafast photo-gating technique to a broader host of 2D materials.

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  4. Van der Waals ferromagnets are thrilling materials from both a fundamental and technological point of view. VI3 is an interesting example, with a complex magnetism that differentiates it from the first reported Cr based layered ferromagnets. Here, we show in an indirect way through angle resolved photoemission spectroscopy experiments, the importance of spin–orbit coupling setting the electronic properties of this material. Our light polarized photoemission measurements point to a ground state with a half-filled e±′ doublet, where a gap opening is triggered by spin–orbit coupling enhanced by electronic correlations.

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  5. Abstract

    The emergence of saddle-point Van Hove singularities (VHSs) in the density of states, accompanied by a change in Fermi surface topology, Lifshitz transition, constitutes an ideal ground for the emergence of different electronic phenomena, such as superconductivity, pseudo-gap, magnetism, and density waves. However, in most materials the Fermi level,$${E}_{{\rm{F}}}$$EF, is too far from the VHS where the change of electronic topology takes place, making it difficult to reach with standard chemical doping or gating techniques. Here, we demonstrate that this scenario can be realized at the interface between a Mott insulator and a band insulator as a result of quantum confinement and correlation enhancement, and easily tuned by fine control of layer thickness and orbital occupancy. These results provide a tunable pathway for Fermi surface topology and VHS engineering of electronic phases.

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  6. Abstract

    The appearance of topologically protected spin-momentum locked surface states in topological insulators gives rise to robust room temperature spin currents making them ideal candidates for the realization of spintronic devices. New methods are needed to access and manipulate such currents with timescales that are compatible with modern electronics. Here we reveal that an optically induced long-lived (~10 ns), spin-polarized surface state excitation in topological insulators can be easily tuned in both magnitude and duration. Time-resolved angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, together with a quantitative model, reveals the ideal conditions for a surface photovoltage in two different topological insulators. Our model predicts that the reported effects are an intrinsic property of topological insulators, as long as the chemical potential falls within the band gap. This work demonstrates that persistent excited topological surface states are photon-accessible and easily tuned in both magnitude and duration, merging photonics- and spintronics-based devices in the same material.

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