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Physics Colloquium: Richard Scalettar

Date: 4:00pm PDT March 17 Location: Olin 204

Olin 204

Refreshments 4:00 pm in the Foyer of the Olin Physics-Chemistry Building
Presentations 4:15-5:15 pm in Olin 204
“Beyond the Homogeneous Superconductor”

Richard Scalettar
Department of Physics
University of California, Davis

Physicists are noted for focussing on models which ignore the ‘dirty details’ and allow the essence of a topic to come to the surface. However, a paraphrase of Einstein, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler,” cautions against taking this idea too far. One of the enduring lessons from the last two decades’ study of ‘novel’ superconductivity is that the simplifying assumption of spatial uniformity needs to be abandoned.  This talk reviews why inhomogeneity is essential to understanding the cuprate superconductors, from the pairing mechanism itself to the pinning of flux lines necessary for applications. The second part of the talk discusses recent attempts to use ‘optical lattice emulators’ – trapped ultracold atomic gases exposed to a standing wave of laser light – to mimic superconducting materials. Here getting a handle on the effect of the confining potential is essential.