Lightwave-driven gapless superconductivity and forbidden quantum beats by terahertz symmetry breaking

Academic Article


  • Light-induced supercurrents chart a path forward for the electromagnetic design of emergent materials phases and collective modes for quantum engineering applications. However, controlled spatial–temporal modulation of the complex order parameter characterizing such non-equilibrium macroscopic quantum states remains elusive. Such ultrafast phase-amplitude modulation can manifest via high harmonic modes beyond those allowed by equilibrium symmetries. Here, we drive moving condensate states via subcycle dynamical symmetry breaking achieved with nonlinear oscillating terahertz photocurrents. These non-equilibrium macroscopic quantum states with broken inversion symmetry are controlled via Cooper pair acceleration by asymmetric and multi-cycle terahertz photoexcitations. The observed supercurrent-carrying states evolve during a lightwave cycle and exhibit three distinguishing features: Anderson pseudo-spin precessions forbidden by equilibrium symmetry, strong high harmonic coherent oscillations assisted by pairing and long-lived gapless superfluidity with minimal condensate quench. Lightwave tuning of persistent photocurrents can be extended for quantum control of unconventional superconductors and topological matter, with implications on quantum gate and sensing functionalities.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Nature Photonics  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Yang X; Vaswani C; Sundahl C; Mootz M; Luo L; Kang JH; Perakis IE; Eom CB; Wang J
  • Start Page

  • 707
  • End Page

  • 713
  • Volume

  • 13
  • Issue

  • 10