The secret behind the behavior of unique superconducting materials uncovered

This work could eventually lead to extremely efficient future electronic devices.


When cooled to specific temperatures, superconducting materials allow electricity to flow without resistance. While studying superconductors using the Summit supercomputer, scientists found that negative particles in the superconductors interact strongly with the smallest units of light in the materials.

This interaction can cause significant changes in materials’ behavior. In other words, the exchange is the basis of understanding the working of a certain type of copper-based superconductor.

Scientists from the DOE/US Department of Energy determined how the interactions between particles in the material change when they are in a crowded space with several other interacting particles. This could better understand a unique class of superconducting materials based on copper.

Scientists modeled the complex interactions between electrons in material for their study. They also modeled the interactions between electrons and phonons. These models involved millions of particle states, with each state comprising distinct characteristics.

The result is one of the team’s largest copper-based superconductors calculations to date.

The method scientists used in this study offers scientists a framework to study the so-called “self-energy” of electrons. The results could help the team get closer to understanding the mechanisms of a unique family of copper-based superconductors, which would be more efficient than typical copper-based superconductors.

Journal Reference:

  1. Li, Z., Wu, M., Chan, Y., and Louie, S., Unmasking the Origin of Kinks in the Photoemission Spectra of Cuprate Superconductors, Physical Review Letters 126 14640,1 (2021). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.126.146401
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