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A team of researchers led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Edwin Fohtung, associate professor of materials science and engineering, has combined expertise in mathematics and condensed matter physics with technological advances to discover new properties of magnetic ferroelectric materials.

In research recently published in MRS Advances ("Topological defects and ferroelastic twins in ferroelectric nanocrystals: What coherent X-rays can reveal about them"), the researchers found that a class of defects, called topological defects, can offer a platform to explore a diverse range of novel phenomena.

For instance, room temperature electronic conductivity has been reported at domain walls of insulating ferroelectric materials. The challenge faced by the scientific community is the non-destructive three-dimensional imaging of such structures at the nanoscale.

This was made possible thanks to a lens-less X-ray microscopy technique known as Bragg Coherent Diffractive Imaging (BCDI). The discovery of a lens-less X-ray microscopy technique has potentially far-reaching applications in computing, medical technology, and physics.

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