Superconducting nickelates

Superconductivity is an amazing property, it means that the material can conduct electricity without losing any energy. Other incredible abilities of superconductors include really high magnetic fields, used for MRI machines for example, and magnetic levitation, used for high speed railway lines.

Certain copper oxides, or cuprates, were discovered to be superconductors with quite high critical temperatures. This won the discoverers the Nobel prize in physics in 1987. Right next door to copper on the periodic table is nickel and it has long been suspected that nickel oxides might exhibit some superconducting behaviour too but this was not found until recently.

Superconducting nickelates were first reported in 2019 by the group of Professor H. Y. Hwang at Stanford. I have now joined the group to assist in the efforts to understand all about this fascinating new discovery. Open questions we are pursuing include how similar, or not, the superconducting nickelates are to their cousins the cuprates, their normal state properties, intrinsic versus extrinsic behaviour, the possibility of magnetic ordering and the effect of various chemical substitutions.