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Designer superconductivity in interacting quantum metamaterials


Despite intense research activity, most new superconductors are discovered by chance, rather than by deliberate design. Consequently, they have limited tunability, which has plagued progress towards a room-temperature demonstration. In particular, electron interactions are extremely challenging to tune, but are assumed to be vital in most high-temperature superconductors. Here I introduce a new paradigm for the bottom-up fabrication of custom-designed superconductors, called interacting quantum metamaterials. These metamaterials are precisely constructed, one atom at a time, using a scanning tunneling microscope. They inherit tunable, strong electron interactions from their unique substrate: a topological Kondo insulator (TKI). A TKI substrate neatly overcomes the two impediments for interacting quantum metamaterials: it hosts quasiparticles that move slow enough to interact with one another, and it is a true topological bulk insulator, which electrically confines these quasiparticles to the surface, where they are easily accessed and manipulated. By rearranging surface atoms, I will create metamaterial geometries that localize these novel TKI surface quasiparticles in order to mimic the parent state of many high-temperature superconductors, a Mott-like insulator. Then, I will adjust the electron concentration by tip-induced electrostatic gating and behold the onset of superconductivity in a fully tunable experimental platform. These results will open a new path to room-temperature superconductors, leading to highly efficient power transmission and storage, which can reduce CO2 emissions and slow climate change.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/optics/microscopy/scanning tunneling microscopy
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/electromagnetism and electronics/electrical conductivity/superconductor

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF


Wellington Square University Offices
OX1 2JD Oxford
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 212 933,76