Excitation of high-Tc cuprates and certain organic superconductors with intense far-infrared optical pulses has been shown to create non-equilibrium states with optical properties that are consistent with transient high-temperature superconductivity.
These non-equilibrium phases have been generated using femtosecond drives, and have been observed to disappear immediately after excitation, which is evidence of states that lack intrinsic rigidity. Here we make use of a new optical device to drive metallic K3C60 with mid-infrared pulses of tunable duration, ranging between one picosecond and one nanosecond. The same superconducting-like optical properties observed over short time windows for femtosecond excitation are shown here to become metastable under sustained optical driving, with lifetimes in excess of ten nanoseconds. Direct electrical probing, which becomes possible at these timescales, yields a vanishingly small resistance with the same relaxation time as that estimated by terahertz conductivity. We provide a theoretical description of the dynamics after excitation, and justify the observed
slow relaxation by considering randomization of the order-parameter phase as the rate-limiting process that determines the decay of the light-induced superconductor.
Reproduced with permission. Copyright 2021, Springer Nature