IMAGE: This schematic diagram maps out the binding energy (or superconducting energy gap) of individual electrons in a copper-oxide (cuprate) superconductor as measured by a sensitive microscope scanning across the surface…. view more 

Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory

UPTON, NY–For years physicists have been trying to decipher the electronic details of high-temperature superconductors. These materials could revolutionize energy transmission and electronics because of their ability to carry electric current with no energy loss when cooled below a certain temperature. Details of “high-Tc” superconductors’ microscopic electronic structure could reveal how different phases (states of matter) compete or interact with superconductivity–a state in which like-charged electrons somehow overcome their repulsion to pair up and flow freely. The ultimate goal is to understand how to make these materials

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