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THz light control of superconductive transport

In this work, strong field electromagnetic pulses of THz radiation were used to affect the conducting properties of a high-Temperature superconductor. Because the applied pulse was so short, electric fields in excess of 100 kV/cm could be applied without significant heating or damage of the material, making it possible to study the response in at unprecedented field. The most provocative observation was that oscillations between a superconducting and a normal metal state could be observed, as the conduction through Cooper pairs was be shut on and off by quantum interference. This study demonstrates the equivalent of transistor action at Ultrafast speeds, and may be of importance as a component in optoelectronic devices. It also demonstrates the existence of a new non-equilibrium phenomenon in high Tc superconductors,  as the dimensionality of the system is made to oscillates between 2 and 3. Indeed, the superconducting properties are shut on and off only along one direction, whilst they remain unperturbed in the planes.


Superconducting transport between layers of a cuprate is gated with high-field terahertz pulses, leading to oscillations between superconductive and resistive states, and modulating the dimensionality of superconductivity in the material.
Cover Nat.Photonics Aug.2011

Related publication:

Bi-directional ultrafast electric-field gating of interlayer charge transport in a cuprate superconductor

A. Dienst, M. C. Hoffmann, D. Fausti, J. C. Petersen, S. Pyon, T. Takayama, H. Takagi and A. Cavalleri

Nature Photonics, 5, 485-488 (2011)

  → Cover
Controlling superconductivity
Interview with A. Cavalleri, Nature Photonics, 5, 506 (2011)  
News and views: "Superconductors: Terahertz superconducting switch"
Marc Gabay & Jean-Marc Triscone, Nature Photonics, 5, 447-449 (2011)
→ press release(s)

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