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Light-induced collective pseudospin precession resonating with Higgs mode in a superconductor

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Science  05 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6201, pp. 1145-1149
DOI: 10.1126/science.1254697

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Optically manipulating superconductors

In superconductors, electrons of opposite momenta pair to form a highly correlated state that manages to flow without encountering any resistance. Matsunaga et al. manipulated the wavefunction of these pairs in the superconductor NbN with an electromagnetic pulse that they transmitted through a thin layer of the material (see the Perspective by Pashkin and Leitenstorfer). The superconducting gap, which is the energy needed to break the pairs apart, oscillated at twice the frequency of the pulse's electric field. When they matched this frequency to half the gap, the authors excited a collective mode in the superconductor called the Higgs mode, a relative of the Higgs boson in particle physics.

Science, this issue p. 1145; see also p. 1121