SLAC Public Lecture Series
Making Waves in a Superconductor
Superconductors are materials in which electric current flows freely, without resistance. They are used to create the powerful magnetic fields needed to operate MRI machines and levitate high-speed trains, and have even served as building blocks for quantum computers. While most metals can become superconducting at temperatures close to absolute zero, more complex materials can superconduct at higher temperatures. Can we discover what makes these materials so special? This lecture will describe experiments at SLAC that use optical and X-ray lasers to create waves in high-temperature superconductors and observe how the materials “breathe” at the atomic level. We hope to find a path to materials that are superconducting at room temperature, making this exotic phenomenon available for everyday applications.