Philip Phillips, University of Illinois
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2015-12-10 14:00 - 15:00
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
George Sawatzky

Although the copper-oxide superconductors were discovered almost 30 years ago, there is no consensus on why they superconduct.  The problem starts with their unusual normal state properties which deviate strongly from the standard theory of metals.  As a window into how odd these materials are I will focus on the optical conductivity.  The optical conductivity possesses a strange power-law scaling that is so befuddling that even string theorists have tried to solve this problem.  The key claim that has arisen from the string community is that  the observed power law is a universal consequence of gravity in the presence of translational symmetry breaking. I will explain this claim and report on a calculation that tests it.  I will show that the general claim is not true.  As an alternative, I will show how unparticles or a scale invariant sector can account for the experimentally observed power law and the violation of certain sum rules.  I will close by showing how a recent mapping between unparticles and massive gravity offers a window into how gravity might underlie the physics of the cuprates.

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