The copper oxide family of superconductors is the only materials family we know that can superconduct above liquid Nitrogen temperatures under ambient conditions. These materials have fascinated and baffled physicists for over two decades since their discovery in 1986.
The incredible phenomenon of superconductivity – electrical conduction without resistance – was discovered more than a century ago. Yet until recently, the copper oxides, and magnesium diboride were the only known families of materials with superconducting temperatures close to accessible liquid Nitrogen temperatures.
Magnets comprising interesting arrangements of electrons with a quantum spin of ½ often realise fascinating and exotic ground states. Importantly, unlike most of their counterparts with conducting electrons, insulating quantum magnets often correspond precisely with a model Hamiltonian, thus enabling the unique experimental identification of new and interesting ground states.