Higgs Spectroscopy Research Providing Clarity Into High-Temperature Superconductivity

New measuring method helps understand physics of high-temperature superconductivity

Key points…

+  From sustainable energy to quantum computers: high-temperature superconductors have the potential to revolutionize today’s technologies. Despite intensive research, however, we still lack the necessary basic understanding to develop these complex materials for widespread application. “Higgs spectroscopy” could bring about a watershed as it reveals the dynamics of paired electrons in superconductors. An international research consortium centered around the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research (MPI-FKF) is now presenting the new measuring method in the journal Nature Communications. Remarkably, the dynamics also reveal typical precursors of superconductivity even above the critical temperature at which the materials investigated attain superconductivity.

“Higgs spectroscopy offers us a whole new ‘magnifying glass’ to examine the physical processes,” Dr. Jan-Christoph Deinert reports. The researcher at the HZDR Institute of Radiation Physics is working on the new method alongside colleagues from the MPI-FKF, the Universities of Stuttgart and Tokyo, and other international research institutions. What the scientists are most keen to find out is how electrons form pairs in high-temperature superconductors.

+  All known superconductors require elaborate cooling methods, which makes them impractical for everyday purposes. There is promise of progress in high temperature superconductors such as cuprates—innovative materials based on copper oxide. The problem is that despite many years of research efforts, their exact mode of operation remains unclear. Higgs spectroscopy might change that.

+  Thanks to Higgs spectroscopy, the research consortium around MPI-FKF and HZDR has now achieved the experimental breakthrough for high-temperature superconductors. Their trick was to use a multi-cyclic, extremely strong terahertz pulse that is optimally tuned to Higgs oscillation and can maintain it despite the damping factors—continuously prodding the metaphorical pendulum. With the high-performance terahertz light source TELBE at HZDR, the researchers are able to send 100,000 such pulses through the samples per second. “Our source is unique in the world due to its high intensity in the terahertz range combined with a very high repetition rate,” Deinert explains. “We can now selectively drive Higgs oscillations and measure them very precisely.”

Source:  PHYS.ORG.  Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres,  New measuring method helps understand physics of high-temperature superconductivity…

Content may have been edited for style and clarity.