A step closer to explaining high-temperature superconductivity?

In the new experiment, scientists glimpsed a pattern of up- and down-spinning atoms, which mimics the up-and-down pattern of magnetism seen in high-temperature superconductors. 

For years some physicists have been hoping to crack the mystery of high-temperature superconductivity—the ability of some complex materials to carry electricity without resistance at temperatures high above absolute zero—by simulating crystals
with patterns of laser light and individual atoms. Now, a team has taken—almost—the next-to-last step in such "optical lattice" simulation by reproducing the pattern of magnetism seen in high-temperature superconductors from which the resistance-free flow of electricity emerges.
"It's a very big improvement over previous results," says Tilman Esslinger, an experimentalist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, who was not involved in the work. "It's very exciting to see steady progress."
An optical lattice simulation is essentially a crystal made of light. A real crystal contains a repeating 3D pattern of ions, and electrons flow from ion to ion. In the simulation, spots of laser light replace the ions, and ultracold atoms moving among spots replace the electrons. Physicists can adjust the pattern of spots, how strongly the spots attract the atoms, and how strongly the atoms repel one another. That makes the experiments ideal for probing physicssuch as high-temperature superconductivity, in which materials such as mercury barium calcium copper oxide carry electricity without resistance at temperatures up to 138 K, far higher above absolute zero than ordinary superconductors such as niobium can....Read More


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