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Title: Superconductivity at Dawn of the Iron Age

Superconductivity is a stunning quantum phenomenon and among the deepest paradigms in all of physics. From fundamental theories of the universe to strange goings-on in exotic materials to medical imaging and cell phones, its conceptual and practical dimensions span a reach as wide as anything in science. Twenty-odd years ago, the discovery of copper oxides ushered in a new era of high-temperature superconductivity, and the joyous exuberance that followed - with physicists throwing everything from fancy gauge theories to synchrotron radiation into its kitchen sink - only recently began to show any signs of waning. In the spring of 2008, as if on cue, a new family of iron pnictide high-temperature superconductors burst on the scene, hinting at an alternative route to room-temperature superconductivity and all of its momentous consequences. Fueled by genuine excitement - and a bit of hype - the iron-based superconductivity turned into a science blockbuster of 2009. I will present a pedagogical review of this new field, contrast the physics of iron- and copper-based systems, and speculate on the microscopic origins of the two types of high-temperature superconductivity.
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1017174
DOE Contract Number:
AC02-07CH11359
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Fermilab Colloquia, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL), Batvia, Illinois (United States), presented on March 03, 2010
Research Org:
FNAL (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL), Batavia, IL (United States))
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; 75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; COPPER OXIDES; DIMENSIONS; IRON; PHYSICS; PNICTIDES; SUPERCONDUCTIVITY; SUPERCONDUCTORS; SYNCHROTRON RADIATION; UNIVERSE