Recent work in the Billinge group on a new family of superconductors, published here in Nature Communications, has been highlighted by Brookhaven National Lab and the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science (see press release here). Superconductivity refers to the ability of certain materials to conduct electricity without any energy loss, and the prospect of achieving superconductivity at temperature as high as room temperature is a thrilling possibility for an energy-efficient future. Based on neutron scattering experiments at Los Alamos National Lab, electron diffraction measurements at Brookhaven, and theoretical arguments, this work on the superconducting system BaTi2(As,Sb)2O has established the existence of an unusual electronic state, called a nematic state, at low temperature. This finding is significant because nematic order has also been observed in the famous high-temperature superconductors based on copper and iron, but the exact relationship between nematicity and superconductivity remains a mystery. The discovery of nematic order in yet another group of superconductors provides scientists with an entirely new avenue for learning about unconventional superconductivity and its connection to nematicity, promising to yield deeper insights into the ongoing challenge of high-temperature superconductivity. Other collaborators shown below.
L to R: Nozaki Yasumasa and Hiroshi Kageyama of Kyoto University; Hefei Hu of Intel (formerly of BNL); and Tomo Uemura of Columbia University.
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Superconductor Week December 31, 2014 Vol. 28, No. 12.
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