Broken Cooper Pairs Caught Bouncing Around

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Science  30 May 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5624, pp. 1381-1382
DOI: 10.1126/science.1084939

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To date, most experiments on copper oxide superconductors have been carried out in thermal equilibrium. In his Perspective, Keimer highlights a report by Gedik et al. that is based on a different approach: the use of a pump-and-probe technique to monitor electronic relaxation processes with subpicosecond time resolution. By breaking superconducting "Cooper pairs" of electrons and holes into their constituent particles and measuring their diffusion with high precision, such time- and space-resolved data shed new light on the mechanism of high-temperature superconductivity.