In a groundbreaking study, a team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Germany have discovered a new way to manipulate quantum materials using laser drives. By tuning the light source to 10 THz, the researchers were able to create a long-lived superconducting-like state in a fullerene-based material (K3C60) using laser light, while reducing the pulse intensity by a factor of 100.
The researchers were able to directly observe this light-induced state at room temperature for 100 picoseconds, and predict that it has a lifetime of at least 0.5 nanoseconds. This discovery has significant implications for understanding the underlying microscopic mechanism of photo-induced superconductivity and could provide insight into the amplification of electronic properties in materials.
Andrea Cavalleri, founding director of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, as well as a physics professor at the University of Hamburg and the University of Oxford, explained why there is interest in studying nonlinear responses in materials and their potential to amplify electronic properties like superconductivity. The resonance frequency identified in this study can help theoretical physicists understand which excitations are important for this effect in K3C60.
Edward Rowe, who worked with Cavalleri on this project, also noted that higher repetition rates at the 10 THz frequency may help sustain metastable states longer, potentially leading to continuous sustenance of superconducting-like states. This research could significantly advance our understanding of quantum materials and their unique properties.
Overall, this discovery marks an exciting development in the field of quantum materials research and provides valuable insights into how laser drives can be used to manipulate these materials at atomic scales.