Spin waves revealed in two-dimensional high-temperature superconductors: Using a technique called resonant inelastic x-ray scattering (RIXS), scientists examined the magnetic spins of atomically thin layers of copper oxide materials. In a surprising discovery published in the journal Nature Materials on Sept. 2, researchers found that the spin waves present in complete, three-dimensional samples survived all the way down to the atomic level.
"For the first time, we can study truly two-dimensional behavior without the complicated interactions found on larger materials," said Brookhaven physicist Mark Dean. "It's widely believed that the essential electron pairing in high-temperature superconductors is magnetically mediated. Examining the fundamental building blocks of these superconductors, layers of copper and oxygen atoms, is key to understanding that magnetism and one day designing superconductors with even better properties."