Skip to main content

A prediction for the velocity of sound in cuprate high-temperature superconductors

A prediction for the velocity of sound in cuprate high-temperature superconductors

  • Date19 Dec 2022
  • Reading time 1min

Theoretical physicists predict sharp anomalies in the velocity of sounds where the pseudogap phase ends in cuprates.

Screenshot 2022-12-20 at 15.20.54.png

Sketch of the phase diagram of cuprates emerging from the calculations carried out by the team.

Cuprates are high-temperature superconductors that offer great potential for future technologies. Yet, the open problems related to their behaviour makes them among the most puzzling materials. A main puzzle is that superconductivity emerges from an enigmatic phase, the so-called pseudogap, whose origin remains controversial.


Now, a team of theoretical physicists at Royal Holloway, Université de Sherbrooke, and Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières have proposed a novel theoretical prediction to identify an electronic transition where the pseudogap ends, below the superconducting state. 


Using the prototypical model of interacting electron systems and large-scale state-of-the-art numerical simulations on high-performance supercomputers, the team has unveiled the existence of anomalies in the form of sharp dips in the velocity of sound and has explained their underlying microscopic mechanism.


Royal Holloway PhD student Caitlin Walsh, the first author of the article, says “Our prediction gives a decisive signature of a purely electronic transition hidden below the superconducting dome, which in turn may help to solve the fundamental question of the nature of the pseudogap phase, as it provides further evidence that the pseudogap arises from Mott physics and resulting short-range correlations”.


Recent advances in ultrasound techniques on correlated systems should enable the experimental testing of such prediction.


The research paper is available at Physical Review B.

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones.

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start.

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help.

Discover more about our 21 departments and schools.

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Royal Holloway is a research intensive university and our academics collaborate across disciplines to achieve excellence.

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway.

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future.

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today.

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable.

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today.