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The rapid spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) confronts policy makers with the problem of measuring the effectiveness of containment strategies, balancing public health considerations with the economic costs of social distancing measures. We introduce a modified epidemic model that we name the controlled-SIR model, in which the disease reproduction rate evolves dynamically in response to political and societal reactions. An analytic solution is presented. The model reproduces official COVID-19 cases counts of a large number of regions and countries that surpassed the first peak of the outbreak. A single unbiased feedback parameter is extracted from field data and used to formulate an index that measures the efficiency of containment strategies (the CEI index). CEI values for a range of countries are given. For two variants of the controlled-SIR model, detailed estimates of the total medical and socio-economic costs are evaluated over the entire course of the epidemic. Costs comprise medical care cost, the economic cost of social distancing, as well as the economic value of lives saved. Under plausible parameters, strict measures fare better than a hands-off policy. Strategies based on current case numbers lead to substantially higher total costs than strategies based on the overall history of the epidemic.

We present experimental results and theoretical simulations of the adsorption behavior of the metal–organic precursor Co2(CO)8 on SiO2 surfaces after application of two different pretreatment steps, namely by air plasma cleaning or a focused electron beam pre-irradiation. We observe a spontaneous dissociation of the precursor molecules as well as autodeposition of cobalt on the pretreated SiO2 surfaces. We also find that the differences in metal content and relative stability of these deposits depend on the pretreatment conditions of the substrate. Transport measurements of these deposits are also presented. We are led to assume that the degree of passivation of the SiO2 surface by hydroxyl groups is an important controlling factor in the dissociation process. Our calculations of various slab settings, using dispersion-corrected density functional theory, support this assumption. We observe physisorption of the precursor molecule on a fully hydroxylated SiO2 surface (untreated surface) and chemisorption on a partially hydroxylated SiO2 surface (pretreated surface) with a spontaneous dissociation of the precursor molecule. In view of these calculations, we discuss the origin of this dissociation and the subsequent autocatalysis.

Electronic states with non-trivial topology host a number of novel phenomena with potential for revolutionizing information technology. The quantum anomalous Hall effect provides spin-polarized dissipation-free transport of electrons, while the quantum spin Hall effect in combination with superconductivity has been proposed as the basis for realizing decoherence-free quantum computing. We introduce a new strategy for realizing these effects, namely by hole and electron doping kagome lattice Mott insulators through, for instance, chemical substitution. As an example, we apply this new approach to the natural mineral herbertsmithite. We prove the feasibility of the proposed modifications by performing ab-initio density functional theory calculations and demonstrate the occurrence of the predicted effects using realistic models. Our results herald a new family of quantum anomalous Hall and quantum spin Hall insulators at affordable energy/temperature scales based on kagome lattices of transition metal ions.

The description of quantized collective excitations stands as a landmark in the quantum theory of condensed matter. A prominent example occurs in conventional magnets, which support bosonic magnons—quantized harmonic fluctuations of the ordered spins. In striking contrast is the recent discovery that strongly spin-orbital-coupled magnets, such as α-RuCl3, may display a broad excitation continuum inconsistent with conventional magnons. Due to incomplete knowledge of the underlying interactions unraveling the nature of this continuum remains challenging. The most discussed explanation refers to a coherent continuum of fractional excitations analogous to the celebrated Kitaev spin liquid. Here, we present a more general scenario. We propose that the observed continuum represents incoherent excitations originating from strong magnetic anharmonicity that naturally occurs in such materials. This scenario fully explains the observed inelastic magnetic response of α-RuCl3 and reveals the presence of nontrivial excitations in such materials extending well beyond the Kitaev state.

Motivated by recent experimental suggestions of charge-order-driven ferroelectricity in organic charge-transfer salts, such as κ-(BEDT-TTF)2Cu[N(CN)2]Cl, we investigate magnetic and charge-ordered phases that emerge in an extended two-orbital Hubbard model on the anisotropic triangular lattice at 3/4 filling. This model takes into account the presence of two organic BEDT-TTF molecules, which form a dimer on each site of the lattice, and includes short-range intramolecular and intermolecular interactions and hoppings. By using variational wave functions and quantum Monte Carlo techniques, we find two polar states with charge disproportionation inside the dimer, hinting to ferroelectricity. These charge-ordered insulating phases are stabilized in the strongly correlated limit and their actual charge pattern is determined by the relative strength of intradimer to interdimer couplings. Our results suggest that ferroelectricity is not driven by magnetism, since these polar phases can be stabilized also without antiferromagnetic order and provide a possible microscopic explanation of the experimental observations. In addition, a conventional dimer-Mott state (with uniform density and antiferromagnetic order) and a nonpolar charge-ordered state (with charge-rich and charge-poor dimers forming a checkerboard pattern) can be stabilized in the strong-coupling regime. Finally, when electron–electron interactions are weak, metallic states appear, with either uniform charge distribution or a peculiar 12-site periodicity that generates honeycomb-like charge order.

Electron beam-induced deposition with tungsten hexacarbonyl W(CO)6 as precursors leads to granular deposits with varying compositions of tungsten, carbon and oxygen. Depending on the deposition conditions, the deposits are insulating or metallic. We employ an evolutionary algorithm to predict the crystal structures starting from a series of chemical compositions that were determined experimentally. We show that this method leads to better structures than structural relaxation based on estimated initial structures. We approximate the expected amorphous structures by reasonably large unit cells that can accommodate local structural environments that resemble the true amorphous structure. Our predicted structures show an insulator-to-metal transition close to the experimental composition at which this transition is actually observed and they also allow comparison with experimental electron diffraction patterns.

One of the most challenging problems in solid state systems is the microscopic analysis of electronic correlations. A paramount minimal model that encodes correlation effects is the Hubbard Hamiltonian, which—regardless of its simplicity—is exactly solvable only in a few limiting cases and approximate many-body methods are required for its solution. In this review, an overview on the non-perturbative two-particle self-consistent method (TPSC), which was originally introduced to describe the electronic properties of the single-band Hubbard model, is presented. A detailed derivation of the multi-orbital generalization of TPSC is introduced here and particular features of the method on exemplary interacting models in comparison to dynamical mean-field theory results are discussed.

Predicting the cumulative medical load of COVID-19 outbreaks after the peak in daily fatalities
(2021)

The distinct ways the COVID-19 pandemic has been unfolding in different countries and regions suggest that local societal and governmental structures play an important role not only for the baseline infection rate, but also for short and long-term reactions to the outbreak. We propose to investigate the question of how societies as a whole, and governments in particular, modulate the dynamics of a novel epidemic using a generalization of the SIR model, the reactive SIR (short-term and long-term reaction) model. We posit that containment measures are equivalent to a feedback between the status of the outbreak and the reproduction factor. Short-term reaction to an outbreak corresponds in this framework to the reaction of governments and individuals to daily cases and fatalities. The reaction to the cumulative number of cases or deaths, and not to daily numbers, is captured in contrast by long-term reaction. We present the exact phase space solution of the controlled SIR model and use it to quantify containment policies for a large number of countries in terms of short and long-term control parameters. We find increased contributions of long-term control for countries and regions in which the outbreak was suppressed substantially together with a strong correlation between the strength of societal and governmental policies and the time needed to contain COVID-19 outbreaks. Furthermore, for numerous countries and regions we identified a predictive relation between the number of fatalities within a fixed period before and after the peak of daily fatality counts, which allows to gauge the cumulative medical load of COVID-19 outbreaks that should be expected after the peak. These results suggest that the proposed model is applicable not only for understanding the outbreak dynamics, but also for predicting future cases and fatalities once the effectiveness of outbreak suppression policies is established with sufficient certainty. Finally, we provide a web app (https://itp.uni-frankfurt.de/covid-19/) with tools for visualising the phase space representation of real-world COVID-19 data and for exporting the preprocessed data for further analysis.