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Researchers at Harvard University in the US have put forward a possible new way to enhance superconductivity in cuprate materials. The approach, which involves embedding the materials in an electromagnetic cavity, could pave the way toward realizing room-temperature superconductivity, which the researchers call “a holy grail of modern condensed matter and material science”.

Scientists have long known that shining intense light on a quantum material can alter its properties. More recently, researchers have suggested that similar results could be achieved by resonantly coupling the material to an electromagnetic cavity.

One promising application of this technique would be to control antiferromagnetic correlations in certain copper oxides (cuprates) that conduct electricity without resistance at temperatures above 77 K. Such correlations are thought to underlie many of the exotic and potential useful aspects of these so-called “unconventional” superconductors. Being able to manipulate them could thus have important near-term applications as well as providing a potential route to crafting materials that remain superconducting at still higher temperatures.

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