Superconductors are materials in which electric current flows freely, without resistance. They are used to create the powerful magnetic fields needed to operate MRI machines and levitate high-speed trains, and have even served as building blocks for quantum computers. While most metals can become superconducting at temperatures close to absolute zero, more complex materials can superconduct at higher temperatures. Can we discover what makes these materials so special? This lecture will describe experiments at SLAC that use optical and X-ray lasers to create waves in high-temperature superconductors and observe how the materials “breathe” at the atomic level. We hope to find a path to materials that are superconducting at room temperature, making this exotic phenomenon available for everyday applications.
About the Speaker:Giacomo Coslovich has spent his career studying complex materials using ultrafast lasers. He did his graduate research at the University of Trieste, Italy, receiving his PhD in 2011. He then took a postdoctoral position at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In 2015, he became a staff scientist at SLAC, where he studies high-temperature superconductors using SLAC’s LCLS X-ray laser.