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Projects. Life and Matter Sciences

High temperature superconductivity in iron materials

Lead Researcher:
Elena Bascones Fernández de Velasco

Research Centre:
Instituto de Ciencias de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM). CSIC. Madrid.


Elena Bascones Fernández de VelascoThe discovery in 2008 of iron superconductors, the second family of high temperature superconductors, marked the start of a new era in the study of superconductivity that has become known as the "iron age", as opposed to the "copper age" which centred on cuprates, discovered in 1986 and for which there is still no theory accepted by the whole scientific community. In superconductors, the electrons appear in what are known as Cooper pairs. Neither of the two families seems to fit conventional theories in which the formation of Cooper pairs is mediated by interaction between the electrons and the crystalline network of ions. On the contrary, it is thought that the appearance of superconductivity is linked to strong electronic repulsion, magnetic interactions and the tendency to exhibit anisotropic electronic phases. The chief novelty of iron superconductors lies in the fact that their electronic properties are controlled by several atomic orbitals. This has important consequences in their metal nature, the electronic phases which appear, sensitivity to changes in the composition or structure of the crystal or in their dependency in case of disturbances. This project will centre on the relationship between electronic repulsion, magnetic properties, superconductors and the orbitals of iron superconductors. The final aim is to understand the origin of high temperature superconductivity and predict new superconducting compounds. We will use a theoretical approach, although much of our work will be dedicated to explaining experimental results and suggesting experiments.

More information at www.icmm.csic.es/superconductividad.

Researcher's website:

Elena Bascones Fernández de Velasco

She works as a researcher in the Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM-CSIC). Her current work centres on the theoretical study of the electronic properties of materials in which electrons are correlated and high temperature superconductors. She has also worked in quantum point transport and nanoparticles, as well as in mesoscopic superconductors.

Elena wrote her thesis in the ICMM, taking her doctorate in the UAM at the end of 2000. Subsequently she made two postdoctoral visits to the USA, to the University of Texas in Austin and Switzerland in the ETH-Zurich, universities in which she worked for four years. In 2005 she returned to Madrid with a Ramón y Cajal contract, and in 2009 gained a post as Permanent Scientist. As well as the two postdoctoral periods, Elena has also made research visits to the Universities of Karlsruhe (Germany), ESPCI (Paris), Minnesota y California (USA) and ETH-Zurich.

Elena has broad experience in project management and is the co-author of more than thirty research papers. She has given more than sixty seminars and research talks in international conferences and universities and has co-organised three conferences and symposia. She also teaches on two post-graduate courses and takes part in live and web-based educational activities (@supercond_icmm; www.icmm.csic.es/superconductividad ; www.youtube.com/superconductividad).

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