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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory

A schematic of a high-Tc phase diagramThe high-Tc superconductors are the class of materials with the highest recorded transition temperatures, on the order of 100 K and above. Discovered over 20 years ago, there remain a number of unanswered questions about these compounds.

One of the key mysteries surrounds the identity of the so-called 'pseudogap' region of the phase diagram. In this regime there exists a gap like feature observed in many physical quantities, yet there is no obvious signs of an ordered phase. Some of the research in the group has been directed at studying the specific heat of the high-Tc's in the pseudogap region of the phase diagram.

A second intriguing question surrounds how the high-Tc's evolve with charge carrier concentration (doping), moving from an antiferromagnetically ordered insulator at low doping, to an unconventional superconductor and eventually a Fermi liquid metal at higher doping. At low dopings, there is evidence for a 'glassy' behaviour of electronic spins, and part of the research effort is directed towards exploring this region of the phase diagram through muon-spin relaxation, transport and dielectric measurements.