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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory

The chemical structure of MgB2After almost a century of research into superconductivity, this fascinating phenomena continues to yield surprises. One example is the recently discovered graphite based superconductors C6Yb and C6Ca, which are formed by intercalating Ytterbium or Calcium between sheets of Carbon atoms. These compounds superconduct at temperatures an order of magnitude higher than previous generations of intercalated superconductors, and have sparked debate as to the cause. The group was involved in the discovery of these new materials, and there is an ongoing effort to characterize and study these and other graphite based superconductors.

Similar to the graphite case, the superconductor MgB2 can be thought of as Magnesium layers sandwiched between hexagonal Boron layers. With a remarkably high Tc of 39 K, this compound has attracted considerable interest, both from a theoretical and applications based perspective. The group has been involved in studies of the Fermi surface of this material by using piezoresistive torque cantilevers to probe oscillations in the magnetization.