In a groundbreaking discovery, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Germany have successfully manipulated quantum materials using laser drives. By tuning the light source to 10 THz, the researchers were able to create a long-lived superconducting-like state in a fullerene-based material (K3C60) while reducing pulse intensity by a factor of 100.
This discovery 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. Researchers were 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.
Andrea Cavalleri, founding director of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, as well as a physics professor at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, explained the interest in nonlinear response in materials and how it can be used to amplify electronic properties like superconductivity. The resonance frequency identified in this study can help theoretical physicists understand which excitations are important for this effect in K3C60.
PhD student Edward Rowe also noted that a higher repetition rate laser source at 10 THz may help sustain metastable states longer, potentially leading to continuous sustenance of superconducting-like states. This research has great potential to advance our understanding of quantum materials and their properties.
Overall, this study highlights the importance of further exploring nonlinear responses in materials and their ability to amplify electronic properties such as superconductivity.