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Superconductivity at extreme conditions

Summer 2023

Project Background

Our lab is a condensed matter experimental group which focuses on exploring material properties using extreme conditions of pressure. Application of high pressure can fundamentally change the interactions within materials and often new and exotic states of matter form under pressure. These studies allow us to find new materials, new material properties and test our theoretical models. We are specifically interested in materials that are good volunteers for superconductivity.
Superconductivity is a macroscopic quantum phenomenon in which a single wave function describes the ensemble of superconducting electrons. In the superconducting state, materials exhibit zero DC electrical resistivity and perfect diamagnetism. Owing to these properties, superconductors has been envisioned to revolutionize our daily life by providing loss-free electric energy transport, magnetic levitations and generation of large magnetic fields. In addition, due to the unique and robust underlying quantum mechanical mechanism of superconductivity, these materials are key component of quantum computers. However, currently the operating conditions of superconductors are limited to very low temperatures or extremely high pressures. Our limited understanding of the superconductivity has hindered the discovery of an ambient condition superconductor.

In our lab we use high technique to study the physics of superconductors and discover new superconducting materials. We have discovered superconductivity in several systems including the superconductivity in 6Li which is the lightest superconductor that has been discovered.

Student Role

Students in the lab engage in broad range of activities and will learn principles of high pressure research in diamond anvil cell. A large number of techniques will be used to study materials at high pressure, which include cryogenic techniques, spectroscopy, crystallography studies in synchrotron, transport and magnetic measurements as well as basic nanofabrication techniques. Students will be working on materials that are superconductors or good candidates for pressure-induced superconductivity. They study the pressure dependence of the structural and electronic dependence of materials. In addition to experiments performed in our lab at University of Utah, interested students will have the opportunity to participate in experiments carried out in national labs including Argonne National Lab, NHMFL and Oakridge. The participation can be done remotely or in person.

Student Learning Outcomes and Benefits

Students in our group would learn the principles of scientific research and what it takes to tackle an open ended problem.

During their research, students will have the opportunity to develop technical skills to run an independent experiment. They will both learn about the science behind the project and receive training on the technical skills and tools used in modern condensed matter research.

By participating in experiments in national labs, students will learn about research careers outside of academia while working in some of the most advanced research facilitates on the planet.

Shanti Deemyad

Associate Professor
Physics And Astronomy

Science is a universal language and everyone can learn. My group is a place for students, regardless of their background, to learn and make meaningful contribution to science. Curiosity, creativity and perseverance is what it takes to be a successful member of the group. I spend many hours with students and work side by side with them. Each person learns different and I believe a healthy group should provide opportunities for all.