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A non-superconducting material has been transformed into a superconductor using light, Oxford University researchers report.

One hundred years after superconductivity was first observed in 1911, the team from Oxford, Germany and Japan observed conclusive signatures of superconductivity after hitting a non-superconductor with a strong burst of laser light.

‘We have used light to turn a normal insulator into a superconductor,’ says Professor Andrea Cavalleri of the Department of Physics at Oxford University and the Max Planck Department for Structural Dynamics, Hamburg. ‘That’s already exciting in terms of what it tells us about this class of materials. But the question now is can we take a material to a much higher temperature and make it a superconductor?’

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