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An international team of scientists has reported the first experimental observation of the quantum critical point (QCP) in the extensively studied “unconventional superconductor” TiSe2, finding that it does not reside as predicted within the superconducting dome of the phase diagram, but rather at a full GPa higher in pressure.

The surprising result, reported in Nature Physics, suggests that the emergence of superconductivity in TiSe2 isn’t associated with the melting of a charge density wave (CDW), as prevailing theory holds; in fact the CDW’s amplitude decreases under increasing pressure, but does not disappear at zero resistance. The researchers find that the emergence of superconductivity in this material is connected rather with the formation of domain walls between commensurate and incommensurate phase transitions. The discovery of this new phase boundary has implications for our understanding of superconducting behavior.

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