Scientists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have combined two microscopy techniques to peer into the interactions that occur between electrons and the atomic vibrations of a material.

They found that the coupling between electrons and atomic vibrations is ten times stronger than anyone had previously believed.

This new insight could lead to superconductivity at much higher temperatures than previously thought possible, leading to a large ripple effect on applications including improved energy transmission in cables and faster electronics and communication.

In research described in the journal Science, the scientists combined an X-ray free-electron laser together with a technique called angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) to image the atomic vibrations of a material and to see how those vibrations affect the electrons in the same material.

Iron selenide is a material that has garnered increased interest of late in the world of superconductivity.

A team of researchers in China observed five years ago that when you place an atomically thin layer of it over an alloy of strontium, titanium and oxygen (STO), the temperature for achieving superconductivity rose from 8 degrees to 60 degrees Celsius above absolute zero.

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