Research on superconductivity is conducted in the Low Temperature Laboratory in the Physics Department at Ithaca College. This lab, headed by Matthew C. Sullivan, focuses on the study of the properties of the new high-temperature superconductors. These superconductors, with transition temperatures above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen (with some as high as 130 K, or -225 °F), have been the source of intense research since their discovery in 1986.
Our research is based primarily on electronic transport measurements (resistivity, Hall effect, etc.) in different superconducting materials, both in a magnetic field and in zero magnetic field. We study the normal-to-superconducting phase transition in bulk single crystal superconductors and thin-film superconductors grown on an insulating substrate. In addition to electronic transport, we also study other properties of the materials, such as specific heat and magnetic susceptibility.
Students in the Low-Temperature Lab in the Physics Department at Ithaca College have studied the phase transition in the electron-doped cuprates. We also work to expand general knowledge and understanding of superconductors using levitation and suspension demonstrations. These demonstrations are built by Ithaca College students and the superconductors grown here at Ithaca College -- you can see some of our demonstrations on YouTube: A straight track and a figure-8 track.
Our research in superconductivity is funded by the National Science Foundation and Ithaca College. We collaborate with several other institutions in this work. Our thin-film samples and high quality single crystals are grown by our students during the summer at the Center for Nanophysics and Advanced Materials in the Physics Department at the University of Maryland, the home of exciting developments in new materials at the nanoscale. Our thin films are photolithographically patterned by IC students at the Cornell Nanoscale Science and Technology Facility, a world-class academic clean room processing facility.