Sharpening Images of High-Temperature Superconductors
WHEN: Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 3:06 p.m. Central Time
WHERE: March 2011 American Physical Society meeting, Dallas Convention Center, Dallas, TX, Ballroom A3
BACKGROUND: Understanding what holds electron pairs together in high-temperature superconductors is one of the biggest problems in condensed matter physics. Like traditional superconductors, high-temperature superconductors can carry electrical current with no resistance, or loss. But because they can operate at temperatures much warmer than conventional superconductors, which must be cooled to near absolute zero (0 Kelvin or -273 degrees Celsius), high-temperature superconductors have the potential for real-world applications. In both types of materials, conventional and high-temperature superconductors, superconductivity is achieved when pairs of electrons carry the current. If scientists can unravel the current-carrying mechanism, they may even be able to discover or design versions that operate at room temperature for applications such as zero-loss power transmission lines. At Brookhaven, Johnson has developed several improvements to a technique called angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy — used to probe the properties of electrons. One improvement has resulted in sharper images of the electron energy spectra in high-temperature superconductors, which provides scientists with previously unobserved details about electron pairing.
This research is funded by the DOE Office of Science.