High Temperature Superconductivity

Martin Long, Andy Schofield

La2CuO4

La2CuO4

The high temperature or cuprate superconductors like the one pictured here were first discovered in 1986. They continue to pose very fundamental questions for theoretical physicists to address. At first glance they are unlikely superconductors - in their pristine state most of them insulate. But if you add charge carriers by chemically doping them they become superconductors with transition temperatures of up to 135K. While that is still well below room temperature it is very high for an essentially quantum mechanical state to dominate the properties. Equally fascinating is the metallic state they adopt at higher temperatures. They are unlike any previously known metal. Trying to understand these fascinating materials is leading to new physical ideas as well as pushing the frontiers of material science and experimental technique.

Our research in this area covers a variety of different approaches from a bottom-up approach which begins by identifying a microscopic model and trying to understand its physics, to a top-down strategy which uses the experiments to develop intermediate theories (phenomonology) to identify the key features of the underlying physics. More details on these varying approaches can be found below: