The findings are the first compelling evidence challenging the model under certain conditions, and could necessitate entirely new theoretical approaches to explaining superconductivity in cuprate materials, one of the outstanding mysteries in condensed-matter physics.
"Single-band Hubbard physics has been used for 20 years to predict how superconducting cuprate materials accommodate the 'holes' left by electron removal," says Darren Peets, lead author of the study who conducted the research while a UBC doctoral student.
"But now it looks like the approaches that underpin a large fraction of the theoretical work in the field just don't work across all the ranges of superconductivity we can study. The part of the cuprates' superconducting phase diagram we looked at could exhibit less-bizarre behaviour, or we could be seeing completely new physics, but in either case the usual theoretical approaches do not work here."
The findings were published today in the journal Physical Review Letters.
Cuprates normally act as insulators but become superconductors when electrons are removed--a process known as 'doping' holes into the material. Physicists consider a material optimally doped when it achieves superconductivity at the highest, most accessible temperature.
UBC researchers where able to break the single-band Hubbard model by 'overdoping' a crystal cuprate superconductor past its optimal range--a level of doping that is difficult to achieve and very rarely studied. While the model explains the material's electron behaviour during doping, Peets and his team found the model falls apart as even more electrons are removed.
"By probing the electronic states using tunable-energy X-rays, we were able to show that this region accommodates electron holes in a fundamentally different manner, and that the interactions among the holes already in the material change completely."
Special crystal samples grown at UBC enabled the team to overdope the superconductor to a degree rarely possible with most materials. "Few materials exist in this doping range, and they tend to be very difficult to grow crystals of," says Peets. "In the case of these crystals, thallium oxide--which is toxic--boils off near growth temperatures if you allow it. So a fair bit of work and care is required."
Discovered in 1986, high-temperature superconductors are cuprates--copper oxides. The materials, which exhibit superconducting properties at usually cold temperatures--often in excess of 90 kelvin--remain an enigma despite intense scrutiny. And because their superconducting state persists at more manageable temperatures, more commercial applications are feasible.
Peets, currently a post-doctoral researcher at Kyoto University, conducted the research at the Berkeley Advanced Light Source synchrotron under the supervision of UBC Physics and Astronomy Professor Douglas Bonn, and with UBC chemist and physicist Professor George Sawatzky.
The work was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Research Chairs program, the British Columbia Synchrotron Institute, and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.The paper is available online (subscription required):
Chris Balma | EurekAlert!
Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte
17.08.2018 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
Protecting the power grid: Advanced plasma switch for more efficient transmission
17.08.2018 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
20.08.2018 | Information Technology
20.08.2018 | Life Sciences
20.08.2018 | Information Technology