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High-temperature superconductors, which carry electricity with zero resistance at much higher temperatures than conventional superconducting materials, have generated a lot of excitement since their discovery more than 30 years ago because of their potential for revolutionizing technologies such as maglev trains and long-distance power lines. But scientists still don't understand how they work.
One piece of the puzzle is the fact that charge density waves—static stripes of higher and lower electron density running through a material—have been found in one of the major families of high-temperature superconductors, the copper-based cuprates. But do these charge stripes enhance superconductivity, suppress it or play some other role?
Studies - Research - Teams - Advances - Charge
In independent studies, two research teams report important advances in understanding how charge stripes might interact with superconductivity. Both studies were carried out with X-rays at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
In a paper published today in Science Advances, researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) used SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray free-electron laser to observe fluctuations in charge density waves in a cuprate superconductor.
Charge - Density - Pulses - Laser - RIXS
They disturbed the charge density waves with pulses from a conventional laser and then used RIXS, or resonant inelastic X-ray scattering, to watch the waves recover over a period of a few trillionths of a second. This recovery process behaved according to a universal dynamical scaling law: It was the same at all scales, much as a fractal pattern looks the same whether you zoom in or zoom out.
With LCLS, the scientists were able to measure, for the first time and in exquisite...
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