Optical excitation at terahertz frequencies has emerged as an effective means to dynamically manipulate complex materials. In the molecular solid K3C60, short mid-infrared pulses transform the high-temperature metal into a non-equilibrium state with the optical properties of a superconductor. Here we tune this effect with hydrostatic pressure and find that the superconducting-like features gradually disappear at around 0.3 GPa. Reduction with pressure underscores the similarity with the equilibrium superconducting phase of K3C60, in which a larger electronic bandwidth induced by pressure is also detrimental for pairing. Crucially, our observation excludes alternative interpretations based on a high-mobility metallic phase. The pressure dependence also suggests that transient, incipient superconductivity occurs far above the 150 K hypothesized previously, and rather extends all the way to room temperature.
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The research leading to these results received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement 319286 (QMAC). We acknowledge support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft via the excellence cluster The Hamburg Centre for Ultrafast Imaging—Structure, Dynamics and Control of Matter at the Atomic Scale and Priority Programme SFB925. M.B. acknowledges financial support from the Swiss National Science Foundation through an Early Postdoc Mobility Grant (P2BSP2_165352).
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Cantaluppi, A., Buzzi, M., Jotzu, G. et al. Pressure tuning of light-induced superconductivity in K3C60. Nature Phys 14, 837–841 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-018-0134-8
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