The Bernd T. Matthias Prize Awarded to Yoshiteru Maeno
2009. 9. 9


We are pleased to report that Professor Yoshiteru Maeno was awarded the Bernd T. Matthias Prize for superconductivity materials at the 9th International Conference on Materials and Mechanisms of Superconductivity, held September 9th-12th in Tokyo. (The award was received jointly with Professor Hideo Hosono of the Tokyo Institute of Technology.) The Matthias Prize is an international prize awarded once every three years for outstanding contributions in the discovery of new superconducting materials. Professor Maeno was recognized for his discovery in 1994 of superconductivity exhibited by ruthenate Sr2RuO4 and for the developments to which this discovery led in the study of superconductivity. The discovery of superconductivity in ruthenate Sr2RuO4 is significant because it is believed to be an example of spin-triplet superconductivity, in which the spins of the electrons forming a Cooper pair are aligned. (Almost all superconducting materials discovered to this time exhibit so-called spin-singlet superconductivity.) Among the very small number of materials thought to exhibit spin-triplet superconductivity, Sr2RuO4 is particularly interesting because it is chemically stable and its electronic state is well understood. For this reason, it provides an ideal system to study spin-triplet superconductivity. The Maeno group has also established a method for growing large, very pure single crystals of Sr2RuO4. This is important practically, as spin-triplet superconductivity is easily destroyed by impurities. The Maeno group has since discovered several other interesting phenomena related to Sr2RuO4. For example, they have found that an Sr2RuO4--Ru alloy that is produced in the process of growing single crystals of Sr2RuO4 possesses a superconducting critical temperature that begins above 3K, which is much higher than those of Sr2RuO4, 1.5K, and pure Ru, 0.5K. We look forward to future groundbreaking discoveries by the Maeno group and the developments in our understanding of superconductivity to which they will lead.