This Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) award will be used by Rutgers University New Brunswick to acquire a Laser-diode-heated Floating Zone furnace (L-FZ), which will be used to grow high quality bulk single crystals of a variety of complex quantum materials including multiferroics, ferroelectrics and low-symmetry magnets. The instrument will support research and education at Rutgers Center for Emergent Materials (RCEM), Rutgers, and the State University of New Jersey. L-FZ is a crystal growth furnace that is newly developed in Japan, and the successful acquisition of L-FZ through this grant will result in the first installation of L-FZ in the United States, serving the national interest by ensuring world-leading research on crystalline quantum materials in the US. Compared with, for example, the conventional infrared-lamp-heated Floating Zone furnace, L-FZ has unique functionalities such as the extreme temperature gradients, high growth temperatures and fast growth rates. These functionalities will enable the growth of high-quality single crystals of an entirely new set of crystalline materials and result in transformative discoveries of new materials. The Principal Investigators and nation-wide collaborators from, for example, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Brookhaven National Lab, U. of Tennessee, and Johns Hopkins, will benefit significantly from the previously-unavailable crystals for large-range and high-resolution imaging techniques such as scanning probe microscopy and transmission electron microscopy as well as neutron scattering. L-FZ will support research and education activities involving undergraduate, graduate students and postdocs at RCEM, as well as K-12 students in the New Jersey region and beyond through the Partners in Science Program organized by the Liberty Science Center, New Jersey.
The functionalities of the Laser-diode-heated Floating Zone furnace enable the growth of  metastable phases,  incongruent melting compounds,  materials with high vapor pressure,  compositional complex materials, and  materials with low viscosity melt. It will be the first machine of its kind installed in the United States, and has potential to be a game changer for education and research in the field of the synthesis of functional quantum materials. Homogeneous single crystals grown with L-FZ will be utilized for transformative investigations of local/global topology, emergent functionalities and manipulation of mesoscopic domains, domain walls, and textures in a wide range of crystalline materials such as multiferroics, low-symmetry magnets, thermodynamically metastable phases and improper ferroelectrics. Using a wide-range of high-resolution imaging techniques such as scanning probe microscopy and transmission electron microscopy as well as neutron scattering, investigation will lead to scientific understanding and technological exploitation of domains, domain walls, and mesoscopic textures such as skyrmions.