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Scientists Capture Ultrafast Snapshots of Light-Driven Superconductivity

April 25, 2014 07:07 AM EST By: Jennifer Rocha

X-rays reveal how rapidly vanishing 'charge stripes' may be behind laser-induced high-temperature superconductivity

Story content courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory

A new study pins down a major factor behind the appearance of superconductivity-the ability to conduct electricity with 100 percent efficiency-in a promising copper-oxide material.

Scientists used carefully timed pairs of laser pulses at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) to trigger superconductivity in the material and immediately take x-ray snapshots of its atomic and electronic structure as superconductivity emerged.

They discovered that so-called “charge stripes” of increased electrical charge melted away as superconductivity appeared. Further, the results help rule out the theory that shifts in the material’s atomic lattice hinder the onset of superconductivity.

The results are from a collaboration led by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Germany and the U.S. Department of Energy’s SLAC and Brookhaven national laboratories.  Other collaborators on this research include the University of Groningen, the University of Oxford, Diamond Light Source, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Stanford University, the European XFEL, the University of Hamburg and the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science.

 

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