A team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Germany has achieved a significant breakthrough in the manipulation of quantum materials using laser drives. By adjusting the light source to 10 THz, the researchers successfully created a long-lived superconducting-like state in a fullerene-based material (K3C60) while decreasing pulse intensity by a factor of 100.
The team was able to observe this light-induced state at room temperature for 100 picoseconds and predict that it has a minimum lifetime of 0.5 nanoseconds. This discovery could lead to better understanding of the underlying microscopic mechanism of photo-induced superconductivity and provide insights into enhancing electronic properties in materials.
Andrea Cavalleri, founding director of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter and professor of physics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, spoke about why researchers are interested in nonlinear responses in materials and enhancing electronic properties such as superconductivity. The resonance frequency identified in this study may help theoretical physicists understand which excitations are critical for this effect in K3C60.
Edward Rowe, Ph.D. student working with Cavalleri, also noted that increasing the repetition rate at a frequency of 10 THz could help maintain the metastable state longer, potentially leading to sustained maintenance of a superconducting-like state. This research has significant implications for advancing our understanding of quantum materials and their properties.