High-Temperature Superconductivity in a Single Copper-Oxygen Plane

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Science  30 Oct 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5953, pp. 699-702
DOI: 10.1126/science.1178863

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The question of how thin cuprate layers can be while still retaining high-temperature superconductivity (HTS) has been challenging to address, in part because experimental studies require the synthesis of near-perfect ultrathin HTS layers and ways to profile the superconducting properties such as the critical temperature and the superfluid density across interfaces with atomic resolution. We used atomic-layer molecular beam epitaxy to synthesize bilayers of a cuprate metal (La1.65Sr0.45CuO4) and a cuprate insulator (La2CuO4) in which each layer is just three unit cells thick. We selectively doped layers with isovalent Zn atoms, which suppress superconductivity and act as markers, to show that this interface HTS occurs within a single CuO2 plane. This approach may also be useful in fabricating HTS devices.

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