Discovering the secrets of a one atomic layer thick superconductor

The journal Nature Communications just published the results of a Resonant Inelastic X-ray Scattering (RIXS) experiment (link), led by the MIT professor Riccardo Comin, and conducted in collaboration with the Politecnico group of Prof. Ghiringhelli and with the QMand researcher Riccardo Arpaia.

The experiment aimed at discovering the origin of superconductivity in iron selenide (FeSe), which is characterized by a low critical temperature (Tc = 8 K) in the bulk, while becoming a high-critical temperature superconductor (Tc = 65 K) when it is shrank to dimensions of only one atomic layer.

RIXS spectra of bulk samples have been compared with those of monolayer samples. The result of the experiment, supported by quantum Monte Carlo calculations, points toward the crucial role played by spin excitations in enhancing the critical temperature of this quantum material. This discovery might help shedding light on the origin of the anomalously high Tc in other superconductor compounds, as the cuprates.

A cover story about this work, issued by the MIT Materials Research Laboratory, can be found at the following link.

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