Evolution and control of oxygen order in a cuprate superconductor

X-ray reflections from the illuminated sample area and a surface layer of about 1.5 μm thickness: the striped Q2 domains are photo-switched in the same surface layer thickness of the sample. The Q2 peak profiles along the in-plane k-direction and the out-of-plane l-direction are shown as a function of the X-ray exposure time at constant X-ray photon flux and fixed temperature.

N. Poccia et al., Nature Materials 10, 733 (2011)

The disposition of defects in metal oxides is a key attribute exploited for applications from fuel cells and catalysts to superconducting devices and memristors.
This study reports the X-ray writing of high-quality superconducting regions, derived from defect ordering1, in the superoxygenated layered cuprate, La2CuO4+y. Irradiation of a poor superconductor prepared by rapid thermal quenching results first in the growth of ordered regions, with an enhancement of superconductivity becoming visible only after a waiting time, as is characteristic of other systems such as ferroelectrics, where strain must be accommodated for order to become extended.

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Evolution and control of oxygen order in a cuprate superconductor;
N. Poccia, M. Fratini, A. Ricci, G. Campi, L. Barba, A. Vittorini-Orgeas, G. Bianconi, G. Aeppli, A. Bianconi; Nature Materials 10, 733 (2011) 10.1038/nmat3088
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