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A team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Germany has made a groundbreaking discovery in the manipulation of quantum materials using laser drives. By adjusting the light source to 10 THz, the researchers were able to create a long-lived superconducting-like state in a fullerene-based material (K3C60) using laser light, while decreasing the pulse intensity by a factor of 100.

The team was able to directly observe this light-induced state at room temperature for 100 picoseconds and predict that it has a lifetime of at least 0.5 nanoseconds. This discovery has significant implications for understanding the underlying microscopic mechanism of photo-induced superconductivity and could provide insight into the amplification of electronic properties in materials.

Andrea Cavalleri, founding director of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, as well as a physics professor at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, explained why researchers are interested in nonlinear responses from materials and how they can amplify electronic properties such as superconductivity. The resonance frequency identified in this study can help scientists understand which excitations are crucial to the effect observed in K3C60.

Edward Rowe, a Ph.D. student working with Cavalleri, also pointed out that a light source with a higher repetition rate at 10 THz could help sustain the metastable state longer, potentially leading to continuous sustenance of superconducting-like states in other materials. This research could advance our understanding of quantum materials and their properties significantly.

Overall, this discovery represents an exciting breakthrough in our ability to manipulate quantum materials using laser drives and provides valuable insights into their potential applications in electronics and other fields.

By Editor

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