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Journal Nature Communications published an article entitled Hidden topological constellations and polyvalent charges in chiral nematic droplets, which was written by Gregor Posnjak, Simon Čopar and Igor Muševič, researchers of the Condensed Matter Physics (F5) department of JSI and Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana. The authors used an advanced method of 3D fluorescent confocal microscopy to reconstruct the order of molecules in micrometre-sized droplets of chiral nematic liquid crystals and discover various topological states which include strings of topological defects and point defects with multiples of unit topological charge. The ordering of molecules around these topological defects is similar to polyvalent atoms and enables the formation of complex topological structures, reminiscent of molecules.


Researchers from Jožef Stefan Institute Melita Sluban, Polona Umek (F5) and Jernej Iskra (K3) have in collaboration with the colleagues from the universities of Ljubljana and Bucharest successfully catalysed aldol condensation with protonated titanate nanotubes. This is a 'green' alternative to the present reaction performance at the industrial level where stoichiometric amounts of homogeneous catalyst are used and the catalyst cannot be recycled. With protonated titanate nanotubes, catalytic amounts of the material sufficed for the reaction progress, the catalyst was reused for several times and was efficient even in a large-scale experiment. The work entitled Protonated titanate nanotubes as solid acid catalyst for aldol condensation was published in Journal of Catalysis.


The Physical Review Letters journal has recently published a paper entitled Low-Temperature Global Symmetry Reduction in the Kagome Antiferromagnet Herbertsmithite, written by Andrej Zorko and Matjaž Gomilšek from the Solid State Physics Department, Jožef Stefan Institute. In collaboration with research groups from Croatia, USA, and France, they have observed for the first time a reduction of symmetry in herbertsmithite, a paradigm of quantum spin liquids on the kagome lattice with a theoretically predicted spin-liquid ground state. The symmetry reduction could finally provide a key clue about the nature of the ground state in this mineral. After more than a decade of intense research, this discovery provides a novel viewpoint on the enigmatic spin-liquid ground state of the kagome lattice.


Researchers from Jozef Stefan Institute and National Institute of Chemistry, in collaboration with colleagues from Switzerland and Japan, were the first to identify accumulation of charged defects at domain walls in ferroelectric BiFeO3. This finding explains the p-type hopping conduction at the domain walls in BiFeO3 and thus represents the missing piece for explaining the intriguing electrical properties of domain walls in ferroelectrics. The study was published in Nature Materials with a 2015 impact factor of 38.89, which currently makes it one of the highest-impact scientific journals. (T. Rojac, A. Bencan, G. Drazic, N. Sakamoto, H. Ursic, B. Jancar, G. Tavcar, M. Makarovic, J. Walker, B. Malic in D. Damjanovic; Domain wall conduction in ferroelectric BiFeO3 controlled by accumulation of charged defects. The entire study was conceived and experimentally implemented at the two Slovenian research institutions.





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