[PAST EVENT] Special Physics & Applied Science Colloquium

July 31, 2015
4pm - 5pm
Small Hall, Room 111
300 Ukrop Way
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
The electrodynamic properties of superconductors are of interest from a fundamental side as well as for applications. Since the seminal work of M. Tinkham on the superconducting energy gap in the late 1950s optical investigations have been established as a powerful method to explore the quasi-particle excitations and their dynamics which yield important information on the density of states, the symmetry of the order parameter, the scattering mechanism, and eventually the glue to superconductivity. In addition, the superconducting condensate is probed, i.e. the Cooper pair density and stiffness. Most recently, it became clear that under certain conditions, also collective modes can be studied: these are the phason excitations (Nambu-Goldstone mode) and the amplitude mode (Higgs mode).

The talk will give a general introduction to the optical properties of superconductors, sketch the theory and highlight some important experimental findings, as well as applications, such as superconducting single photon detectors. In particular we will focus on ultrathin superconducting films, such as InO, Nb, NbN, TiN, and TaN, but also Al, which exhibit a superconductor-insulator transition as disorder or granularity increases. We discuss the possibility of collective low-frequency excitations due to the Higgs mechanism, which become long-lived and well defined in the vicinity of a quantum critical point.

[1] M. Dressel et al., IEEE Sel. Top. Quant. Electr. 14, 399 (2008); Adv. Condens. Matter Phys. 2013, 104379 (2013).
[2] U. S. Pracht et al., IEEE Trans. THz Sci. Technol. 3, 269 (2013); Phys. Rev. B 86, 184503 (2012).
[3] D. Sherman et al., Phys. Rev. B 89, 035149 (2014); Nature Phys. 11, 188 (2015).
[4] N. Bachar et al., J. Low Temp. Phys. 179, 83 (2014).

Host: Prof. Mumtaz Qazilbash