Characterizing the Invisible

Delve into the electronic and magnetic properties of loss-free materials by better controlling X-rays

As a perspectives paper, the most important outcome of this work will likely not be the synopsis of the current state of the art, but rather the insights it provides into what could be possible, including transmitting electricity without loss. Image: Kathryn Lang and Nathan Johnson

Like a leaky pipe, transmission lines waste electricity. While some materials are better at conducting electricity, scientists are after "super" conductors. These materials move energy with no loss. Today, superconductors are only used under special cases when the increased cost of keeping the materials cold is outweighed by the benefit. New techniques are uncovering details that could lead to materials that work at room temperature. An increasingly popular technique is called resonant inelastic X-ray scattering, or RIXS. Coupled with powerful light sources, RIXS provides never-before-seen details about superconductor's electronic and magnetic states. Mark Dean, Center for Emergent Superconductivity, reviewed improvements to RIXS, which has been valuable at his center and elsewhere. His state-of-the science article is showing others what can be done with RIXS and outlines new areas where it could lead to additional discoveries. The Center for Emergent Superconductivity is led by Brookhaven National Laboratory.

More Information: 

Dean MPM. 2015. "Insights into the High Temperature Superconducting Cuprates from Resonant Inelastic X-Ray Scattering." Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials 376:3-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmmm.2014.03.057