Investigations of High-Temperature Superconductors and Other Complex Quantum Materials

PI: Nuh Gedik, Department of Physics, MIT
PI: Boris Fine, Center for Photonics and Quantum Materials, Skoltech 

We propose to conduct joint theoretical and experimental investigations of high-temperature superconductors and other complex quantum materials. Our goal is to elucidate the mechanism of high temperature superconductivity with the help of new experimental techniques for probing the properties of complex quantum materials on ultrafast microscopic time scales. Establishing the mechanism of high-temperature superconductivity has been a major challenge for solid-state physics over the past 30 years. Reaching this goal may pave the way to room-temperature superconductivity, which, in turn, is likely to make revolutionary technological impact. Likewise, the research on laserdriven diagnostics and manipulation of quantum materials has significant and still unexploited potential for applications in electronics.
The collaborative effort will be primarily focused on investigating the character and the role of electronic inhomogeneities in high-temperature cuprate superconductors. On the experimental side, we will study the dynamics of low-energy electronic excitations with the use of novel time resolved techniques. In the proposed experiments, a non-equilibrium state is created by using an ultrafast laser pulse and the system’s return to equilibrium is probed in a time-resolved manner. Dependent on the probing methods, spatiotemporal evolution of different degrees of freedom in the system can be selectively monitored with femtosecond (10-15 s) resolution. We will combine these experiments with state of the art theory, which will make a significant impact in understanding these materials. On the theoretical side, we will focus on the implication of electronic inhomogeneities for electronic transport in cuprates, on the robust character of superconductivity against disorder and on the search for two-component superconductivity models describing the system in the proximity to the electronic phase separation threshold. Theoretical investigations will also deal with the thermalization issues associated with the processes of melting and freezing of electronic superlattices. In terms of applications, this project will explore new technology for improving the performance of superconducting cables with the help of laser-generated pinning centers for superconducting vortices. The requested funding will help to establish mutually beneficial long-term research collaboration between Fine’s theory group and Gedik’s experimental group and to contribute to the capacity building at Skoltech’s Center for Photonics and Quantum Materials. The funding will, in particular, cover the training of one postdoc and one Ph.D. student in theory, and one postdoc and one Ph.D. student in experiment. The trainees in experiment will be selected with the consideration of their potential for employment at Skoltech. The funding will also support intensive specialized course at Skoltech and the travel of principal investigators, junior researchers and students between Skoltech and MIT

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