Hunting down unconventional superconductors

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Science  07 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6346, pp. 32-33
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan2657

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Since the 2006 discovery of iron-based high-temperature superconductors, the highest Cooper pairing temperature (the temperature at which the superconducting energy gap opens) has been observed in iron selenide (FeSe)-based materials. By listing some of these materials and their Cooper pairing temperature (Tc) (see the figure), one might think bulk FeSe is the least interesting because it has the lowest Tc. On the contrary, it should be regarded as the highest-temperature superconductor ever known. On pages 71 and 75 of this issue, Gerber et al. (1) and Sprau et al. (2) reveal two further unusual properties of this unprecedented high-temperature superconductor. Their results may help unravel the pairing mechanism of these unconventional superconducting materials.