The Undulator Hall of SLAC Lab's Linac Coherent Light Source, which "wiggles" electrons to generate the high-power coherent x-rays crucial to this study.
Physicist Genda Gu in the Brookhaven Lab facility where the copper-oxide materials were grown for this study.
In equilibrium (top), the charge stripe "ripples" run perpendicular to each other between the copper-oxide layers of the material. When a mid-infrared laser pulse strikes the material (middle), it "melts" these conflicting ripples and induces superconductivity (bottom). The experimenters used a carefully synchronized x-ray laser to take this femtosecond–fast "movie" to reveal how quickly the charge stripes melt. Image courtesy Jörg Harms, Max-Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter.
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Scientists used carefully timed pairs of laser pulses at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) to trigger superconductivity in the material and immediately take x-ray snapshots of its atomic and electronic structure as superconductivity emerged...