A team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Germany have made a remarkable discovery in the manipulation of quantum materials using laser drives. By adjusting the light source to 10 THz, they were able to create a long-lived superconducting-like state in a fullerene-based material (K3C60) using laser light, while reducing the pulse intensity by a factor of 100.
The team was able to directly observe this light-induced state at room temperature for 100 picoseconds and predict that it has a lifetime of at least 0.5 nanoseconds. This finding has significant implications for understanding the underlying microscopic mechanism of photo-induced superconductivity and could provide insight into the amplification of electronic properties in materials.
Andrea Cavalleri, founding director of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter and physics professor at both the University of Hamburg and Oxford, explained why researchers are interested in studying nonlinear responses in materials and how amplifying electronic properties like superconductivity can be achieved through these processes. The resonance frequency identified in this study can help theoretical physicists understand which excitations are crucial for achieving this effect.
Edward Rowe, a Ph.D. student working with Cavalleri, also noted that utilizing a higher repetition rate at the 10 THz frequency may help sustain the metastable state longer, potentially leading to continuous sustenance of the superconducting-like state. This research has the potential to advance our understanding of quantum materials and their properties significantly.
In conclusion, this discovery is an important milestone in our journey towards developing new technologies based on quantum materials’ unique properties. With continued research, we may be able to harness these effects for practical applications such as improving electronics or creating more efficient energy storage systems.