Monday, June 8, 2009

Ironing out my ignorance

Before going to a conference and experiencing information overload it is worth thinking through what one is hoping to learn.

One thing I am looking forward to at the GRC on superconductivity is getting up to speed on the new iron pnictide superconductors.

Some of the questions I have are:
  • Is there a universal phase diagram?
  • What is the superconducting pairing symmetry?
  • What are the experimental signatures of strong electronic correlations?
  • Is there a pseudogap?
  • Is the quality/purity of the samples high enough we can be confident that experimentalists are measuring what they claim on what they claim?
  • What is the minimal quantum many-body Hamiltonian that can describe these materials? How many bands are necessary?
  • Is there an variational wave function that captures the essential physics of the competition between the different ground states?
  • What are the outstanding unresolved questions?
A nice introduction to some of these issues is this brief overview by Mike Norman.

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