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Light-induced superconductivity using a photoactive electric double layer

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Science  13 Feb 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6223, pp. 743-746
DOI: 10.1126/science.1256783

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Light switch for superconductivity

The conducting properties of materials sensitively depend on the available carrier concentration. Physicists can vary this concentration by inducing carriers in the material; for example, by placing it next to an ionic liquid in an electric field. Suda et al. instead used a layer of the molecule spiropyran, which changes from a non-ionic to an ionic form when it is irradiated by ultraviolet (UV) light. The authors placed the layer on top of a thin crystal of an organic material. When they shone UV light on the spiropyran, the adjacent material became superconducting, thanks to the carriers induced at the interface.

Science, this issue p. 743