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High temperature superconductivity in iron materials

17th national competition for scientific and technical research

High-temperature superconducting materials

Senior Researcher : Elena Bascones Fernández de Velasco

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Research Centre or Institution : Instituto de Ciencias de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM). CSIC. Madrid.


The discovery in 2008 of iron superconductors, the second family of high temperature superconductors, marked the start of a new era in the study of superconductivity that has become known as the "iron age", as opposed to the "copper age" which centred on cuprates, discovered in 1986 and for which there is still no theory accepted by the whole scientific community. In superconductors, the electrons appear in what are known as Cooper pairs. Neither of the two families seems to fit conventional theories in which the formation of Cooper pairs is mediated by interaction between the electrons and the crystalline network of ions. On the contrary, it is thought that the appearance of superconductivity is linked to strong electronic repulsion, magnetic interactions and the tendency to exhibit anisotropic electronic phases. The chief novelty of iron superconductors lies in the fact that their electronic properties are controlled by several atomic orbitals. This has important consequences in their metal nature, the electronic phases which appear, sensitivity to changes in the composition or structure of the crystal or in their dependency in case of disturbances. This project will centre on the relationship between electronic repulsion, magnetic properties, superconductors and the orbitals of iron superconductors. The final aim is to understand the origin of high temperature superconductivity and predict new superconducting compounds. We will use a theoretical approach, although much of our work will be dedicated to explaining experimental results and suggesting experiments

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