April 13, 2024

Unmasking the secrets of the Phase III superconductor

The researchers observed the dynamic phases of BCS superconductor interactions in a Cavity QED by measuring light leakage from the cavity. Credit: Steven Burrows/Rey and Thompson Groups

JILA researchers simulated superconductivity in strontium atoms inside an optical cavity to observe rare dynamic phases, including the elusive Phase III, which has implications for quantum physics and technology development.

In physics, scientists have been fascinated by the mysterious behavior of superconductors – materials that can conduct electricity with zero resistance when cooled to extremely low temperatures. Within these superconducting systems, electrons come together in “Cooper pairs” because they are attracted to each other due to vibrations in the material called phonons.

As a thermodynamic phase of matter, superconductors typically exist in an equilibrium state. But recently, researchers at JILA have become interested in putting these materials into excited states and exploring the resulting dynamics. As reported in a new Nature article, the theoretical and experimental teams of JILA and NIST fellows Ana Maria Rey and James K. Thompson, in collaboration with Prof. Robert Lewis-Swan of the University of Oklahoma, simulated superconductivity under such excited conditions using a

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