Curated by RSF Research Staff
Scientists get First Direct Look at How Electrons ‘Dance’ with Vibrating Atoms
The vibrational energy due to oscillating atoms in a crystal lattice is known as a phonon. These vibrations – or phonons - are determined by the specific atom and its associated atomic bond, generating heat and sound as this quantum of vibrational energy propagates though the material.
Electrons travelling through a material can experience resistance depending on the metallicity and its impurities, which effects the conductive process. However, when electrons couple to the vibrational mechanical energy – known as electron-phonon coupling - they are able to collectively move through the material in a coherent fashion.
A team at Stanford utilizing the SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center) National Accelerator Laboratory have now made the first direct measurements of this electron-phonon coupling. Using iron selenide - a material known for its unique conductive properties in that it conducts electricity without loss and at extremely cold temperatures – they were able to combine measurements of atomic vibration and electron energy such that the electron-phonon coupling could be observed with unprecedented precision.
Understanding electron-phonon coupling and its relationship to superconductivity not only reveals new insights into the physics of material science, but as well allows for subsequent optimization and advancements in superconductivity.
Sharing is caring - please share this with your friends: