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News Release 08-064

Attraction at the Atomic Level

Researchers find the ties that bind electrons in high-temperature superconductivity

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Atomic scale maps of electron pairing in high-temperature superconductors.

The two figures show the results obtained with a specialized scanning tunneling microscope at temperatures well above and well below when the electrons pair up in high-temperature superconductors. The top figure shows an atomic scale map of the strength for pairing of electrons while superconducting--red shows the strongest pairing regions, blue the weakest. The bottom figure shows a measurement related to electron-electron interaction on the exact same atomic sites at a temperature well above the superconducting transition temperature when electrons repel one another. The surprising connection between these two measurements is the main finding of the paper published in Science by the team from Princeton University.

Credit: Yazdani Group

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