Nano Science and Technology Institute

A Grand Unified Theory of Exotic Superconductivity?

By: Jennifer Rocha

Scientists introduce a general theoretical approach that describes all known forms of high-temperature superconductivity and their "intertwined" phases

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

Séamus Davis, a physicist who’s conducted experiments on many of these materials at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Cornell University, and Dung-Hai Lee, a theorist at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, postulate a set of key principles for understanding the superconductivity and the variety of “intertwined” electronic phenomena that applies to all the families of high-Tc superconductors.

In their paper, Davis and Lee propose and demonstrate within a simple model that antiferromagnetic electron interactions can drive both superconductivity and the various intertwined phases across different families of high-Tc superconductors. These intertwined phases and the emergence of superconductivity, they say, can be explained by how the antiferromagnetic influence interacts with another variable in their theoretical description, namely the “Fermi surface topology.”

If the search pays off, it could lead to the identification or development of superconductors that can be used even more effectively than those that are known today-potentially transforming our energy landscape.

This research was funded by the DOE Office of Science, in part through the Center for Emergent Superconductivity, a DOE-funded Energy Frontier Research Center at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

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