New product ships – FC100

There is much rejoicing in the field of strongly correlated electron systems as the first models of our brand-new premium product, the FC100 are being shipped to customers. Many thanks to all our loyal customers who have patiently waited (and are still patiently waiting). Thanks for bearing with us, and we hope to fulfil all outstanding orders in the next few weeks.

The FC100 is a big step up in the field of cryogenic strain tuning. The device packs quite a punch into a 1-inch footprint providing a maximum displacement of ±25 μm at 4K and maximum force of ±90 N at 4K. On top of this, the FC100 has an in-built force sensor (instead of the displacement sensor) which allows the direct measurement of stress on the sample – a more reliable metric than measuring the applied displacement.

Below shows the beautiful FC100 mounted on a modified Quantum design PPMS probe, ready for inserted into a cryostat.

New article published in Nature Communications describes novel magnetic phenomenon

Researchers at the University of California, Davis with collaborators from Institute for Solid State Physics, TU Dresden and Ames Laboratory U.S. DOE have recently reported the observation of an intriguing magnetic phenomenon in the superconductor, BaFe2As2 which has a nematic electronic structure. The researchers were subjecting a sample of the material to uniaxial strain using a Razorbill Instruments CS100 strain cell (see picture) while probing it using NMR.

BaFe2As2 is usually an anti-ferromagnetic material, with the atomic spins of neighbouring atoms alternate between up and down meaning that the spins cancel and resultant material is non-magnetic. Intriguingly, when subjected to strain the atomic spins changed significantly, moving out of the plane of the crystal leading to a strained material that is measurably magnetic. Materials that change their magnetic properties when subjected to strain are very rare but the particularly surprising effect is that an in-plane applied strain can lead to an out of plane magnetic moment.

One of the reasons why the work is so significant is that this is the first measurement that sheds any light on the internal spin structure of the nematic order parameter in an iron-based superconductor.

For more details please see the original paper which was published in Nature Communications or the UC Davis blog post on the work.


Image left. Above: A sample of BaFe2As2 is mounted between the sample plates of a Razorbill Instruments CS100 strain cell. Below: As uniaxial strain is applied to the sample, the original in-plane magnetic moments (black arrows)  start to shift out of plane (white arrows).

Exciting opportunity for funded PhD working with Razorbill Instruments

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Condensed Matter Physics (CM-CDT) have today announced several new fully funded PhD positions for candidates interested in working with the highly technical field of hard condensed matter physics but also have a keen interest in commercialisation and the desire to experience the atmosphere of a small but quickly growing start-up.

The project will many take place at the University of St Andrews and be supervised by Dr Peter Wahl, a world-leading researcher in cryogenic scanning probe microscopy. During the project the student will be responsible developing cutting edge cryogenic apparatus and then to both use these newly developed tools to explore new areas of science but also to take the first steps into turning the technology into a saleable product.

Please note that interested candidates should be in touch ( before the 23rd of May. For more information see

Razorbill founder Clifford Hicks to collect physics prize from Sweden

We are pleased to announce that one of the original three founders of Razorbill Instruments, Dr Clifford Hicks has won the 2017 Young Scientist Prize in Low Temperature Physics awarded by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics. He will be awarded the international award, which is only awarded once every three years, for his ground-breaking work in the application of uniaxial strain to unconventional superconductors. This technique, that he pioneered, has introduced an entirely new tuning parameter to manipulate the electronic properties of these exotic materials in order to shed light on their poorly understood electronic properties. The work has so far garnered him international acclaim and authorship on many high profile publications including two articles in the journal Science.

His work has kicked off an entirely new and highly productive avenue of research in condensed matter physics. We would like to wish him congratulations on this latest recognition.

The Young Scientist Prize in Low Temperature Physics has been been running for more than 70 years and is designed to recognise researchers who have performed exceptional research and have less than 8 years of research experience following the award of their doctorate.

Strong prospects for uniaxial strain in 2017

“…we are only beginning  to  scratch  the  surface  of  what  is possible  with  uniaxial  strain  as  a  continuously tunable,  in  situ  tool  for  manipulating the properties of quantum materials”

Professor Kyle M. Shen, Science, 355, (6321), 133. 13th January 2017.

Already in 2017, there have been some very interesting research published using the application of uniaxial strain. Steppke et al, use a uniaxial strain cell to tune the electronic properties of the consistently intriguing unconventional superconductor, strontium ruthenate. The team found that under uniaxial strain there was not only a large increase in the critical temperature of the superconductor but some tantalising signs that the parity of the superconducting charge carrier changes from an even to an odd parity.

In addition, Professor Kyle M. Shen (Cornell) writes in a letter published in Science about the work of Steppke et al. as well as about the value of uniaxial strain tuning as a valuable new tool in the physicists toolkit.

All in all, it is looking like uniaxial strain tuning has become one of the most promising routes to making high profile advances in the field of strongly correlated electron systems.



Happy birthday to Razorbill Instruments

To anybody who didn’t know, Razorbill Instruments Ltd had its second birthday recently. Thank you very much everyone who helped Jack, Alex and Cliff celebrate entering the company’s 3rd year. We’re looking forward to continuing the adventure next year as we go from strength to strength!

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