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High-Temperature Superconductivity

Understanding high-temperature superconductivity in layered cuprates remains one of the leading challenges in condensed matter physics.  A huge amount of research has been done on this problem since the seminal discovery of Bednorz and Müller in 1986.   A brief introduction to the phenomenology associated with cuprates has been given by Batlogg and Varma, and some of the theoretical ideas were briefly describe by Rice.  Quite a few reviews of various aspects of the field have appeared, and links to many of those are available here.  Some of the current research issues are described in the DOE/BES workshop report Basic Research Needs for Superconductivity.

One of the key features of the cuprates is that the superconductivity is obtained by chemically doping mobile charge carriers ("holes") into an antiferromagnetic insulator.  Neutron scattering is an ideal probe for characterizing the spin correlations that are present in the doped material.  While the nature of these spin correlations remains controversial, our research suggests that they are a remnant of the parent correlated-insulator phase.  They can survive due to the segregation of the holes into stripes, separating locally-antiferromagnetic domains.  We have discovered stripe order in certain special compounds having a structural anisotropy that can pin the stripes.  Links to our research papers on cuprates, including review articles, are available here.

Much of our current work is aimed at understanding whether stripe-like correlations are universal in underdoped cuprates, and how the stripes interact with the superconductivity.

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Last Modified: Wednesday, 05-Mar-2008 16:20:06 EST