An international team that includes University of British Columbia physicists has used ultra-fast laser pulses to identify the microscopic interactions that drive high-temperature superconductivity.
In the experiment, to be outlined this Friday in the journal Science, electrons in a prototypical copper-oxide superconductor were excited by extremely short 100-femtosecond (0.0000000000001-second) laser pulses.
As the material's electrons relax back to an equilibrium state, they release their excess energy via deformation of the superconductor's atomic lattice (phonons) or perturbation of its magnetic correlations (spin fluctuations).
The researchers were able to capture very fine grained data on the speed of the relaxation process and its influence on the properties of the superconducting system, showing that the high-critical temperature of these compounds can be accounted for by purely electronic (magnetic) processes.
"This new technique offers us our best window yet on the interactions that govern the formation of these elusive superconducting properties--both across time and across a wide range of characteristic energies," says UBC Associate Professor Andrea Damascelli, Canada Research Chair in Electronic Structure of Solids with the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the UBC Quantum Matter Institute.
"We're now able to begin to disentangle the different interactions that contribute to this fascinating behavior."
Superconductivity--the phenomenon of conducting electricity with no resistance--occurs in some materials at very low temperatures. High-temperature cuprate superconductors are capable of conducting electricity without resistance at temperatures as high as -140 degrees Celsius.
The key mechanism that allows the carriers to flow without resistance in superconductors stems from an effective pairing between electrons. In conventional metallic superconductors, this pairing mechanism is well understood as phonon-mediated. In copper-oxides, the nature of the low-resistance interaction between the electrons has remained a mystery.
"This breakthrough in the understanding of the puzzling properties of copper-oxides paves the way to finally solving the mystery of high-temperature superconductivity and revealing the key knobs for engineering new superconducting materials with even higher transition temperatures," says the paper's lead author Claudio Giannetti, a researcher with Italy's Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and visiting professor at UBC's Quantum Matter Institute.
The international collaboration also involved contributions from Japanese, Swiss and American researchers.
The UBC portion of the research program was funded by the Killam Trusts, the Canada Research Chair program, the Sloan Foundation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Quantum Materials program.Andrea Damascelli
Andrea Damascelli | EurekAlert!
New manifestation of magnetic monopoles discovered
08.12.2017 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria
NASA's SuperTIGER balloon flies again to study heavy cosmic particles
07.12.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."
Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
05.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Life Sciences
08.12.2017 | Information Technology
08.12.2017 | Information Technology