Study reveals new properties of “mysterious” superconductors
More than thirty years after their discovery in 1986, it is still unclear to scientists how cuprates – compounds of copper and oxygen – can carry electric current without resistance even at much higher temperatures than other superconductors, up to -143°C.
New details on the nature of these compounds were revealed by a study conducted by researchers at the Department of Physics of the Polytechnic University of Milan and Stanford University, published in Nature. The study showed that the extremely complex structure of cuprates consists of parallel planes that never interact and their superconductivity is the result of a three-dimensional coherent quantum state, which involves multiple planes.
This result was made possible by an experiment carried out using the ERIXS spectrometer, designed and built thanks to the collaboration between the Polytechnic University of Milan and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility-ESRF in Grenoble and installed at the same French laboratory, one of the most important international infrastructures for synchrotron light.