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Quest for room temperature superconductivity

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This is a topic which I’ve followed for decades. A holy grail of physics: room temperature superconductivity. The physics of Cooper pairs: what makes two electrons pair up when their charge actually makes them repel each other?

SciTechDaily > “Breakthrough in Understanding the Physics of High-Temperature Superconductivity” by Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (May 12, 2020).

How do electrons form pairs in high-temperature superconductors such as cuprates?

In superconductivity, electrons combine to create “Cooper pairs,” which enables them to move through the material in pairs without any interaction with their environment. But what makes two electrons pair up when their charge actually makes them repel each other?

For conventional superconductors, there is a physical explanation: … One electron distorts the crystal lattice, which then attracts the second electron. For cuprates, however, it has so far been unclear which mechanism acts in the place of lattice vibrations.

At this point “Higgs oscillations” enter the stage: In high-energy physics, they explain why elementary particles have mass. But they also occur in superconductors, where they can be excited by strong laser pulses. They represent the oscillations of the order parameter – the measure of a material’s superconductive state, in other words, the density of the Cooper pairs.

So, “Higgs oscillations” = oscillations in the density of the Cooper pairs? Such oscillation can be induced via cyclic high-energy laser pulses. Like using your legs to continuously maintain a swing, eh.

[Image caption] By applying a strong terahertz pulse (frequency ω), they stimulated and continuously maintained Higgs oscillations in the material (2ω). Driving the system resonant to the Eigenfrequency of the Higgs oscillations in turn leads to the generation of characteristic terahertz light with tripled frequency (3ω). Credit: HZDR / Juniks

One thought on “Quest for room temperature superconductivity

  1. A landmark in condensed matter physics …

    • Quanta Magazine > “Room-Temperature Superconductivity Achieved for the First Time” by Charlie Wood (October 14, 2020) – Physicists have reached a long-sought goal. The catch is that their room-temperature superconductor requires crushing pressures to keep from falling apart [maintain a metallic lattice].

    [Image] A novel metallic compound of hydrogen, carbon and sulfur [“the group doesn’t know how the atoms are arranged, or even the substance’s exact chemical formula”] exhibited superconductivity at a balmy 59 degrees Fahrenheit when pressurized between a pair of diamond anvils. (J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester)

    … the substance superconducts at room temperature only while being crushed between a pair of diamonds to pressures roughly 75% as extreme as those found in the Earth’s core.

    Cooper pairs … stream together in a coherent swarm that passes through the metal’s lattice unimpeded, experiencing no resistance whatsoever.

    Researchers have spent decades searching for a superconductor whose Cooper pairs tango tightly enough to withstand the heat of everyday environments.

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