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Superconductivity: New tricks for better materials

Jan Kuneš © Vienna University of Technology

A research team at the Vienna University of Technology managed to determine important parameters of these novel superconductors by comparing theory and experiment. This means that for the first time a theoretical model is now available that can be used to understand the electronic mechanisms of high-temperature superconductivity in these materials.

In order to make use of this theoretical model, it is necessary to know certain material parameters that are difficult to determine. "The charge transfer energy plays a key role," explains Prof. Jan Kuneš of the Institute of Solid State Physics at the Vienna University of Technology. "This value tells us how much energy you have to add to the system to transfer an electron from a nickel atom to an oxygen atom," he adds.
The working group led by Jan Kuneš developed a method to indirectly determine this parameter-When the material is examined with X-rays, the results also depend on the charge transfer energy. "We calculated details of the X-ray spectrum that are particularly sensitive to this parameter and compared our results with measurements of different X-ray spectroscopy methods," states Jan Kuneš. "In this way, we can determine the appropriate value – and this value can now be inserted into the computational models used to describe the superconductivity of the material," he concludes.

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