The discovery of high temperature superconductivity in FeAs-compounds has attracted worldwide attraction and triggered an enormous amount of research activities in both, solid state physics and solid state chemistry. This interest is due to (i) the large transition temperatures up to 55 K, (ii) the very rich physical properties which exhibit an interesting interplay between crystal structure, magnetism, and superconductivity, (iii) the large diversity of materials in this new class of high temperature superconductors, and (iv) the potential of technical applications of these intermetallic compounds. It is the intention of this priority program to study “materials and mechanisms” of FeAs high temperature superconductivity. With a systematic materials study it is aimed to synthesize high quality samples of known materials as well as to search for new superconducting compositions. With a combination of experimental and theoretical investigations it is planned to study the basic physical properties of the pnictides and, in particular, to explore the mechanism of this new class of high temperature superconductors.
An important aspect of this research initiative will be the close interdisciplinary collaboration between chemists and physicists, or, in other words, the interaction between materials optimization and fundamental research. The groups working in chemistry and/or materials science will establish new systems and will optimize the sample quality. The thorough characterization of the physical properties as well as well as the theoretical modelling performed by groups working in theoretical and/or experimental physics will not only give insights to the fundamental properties of the pnictides, but will, in addition, give important suggestions to the optimization and new directions in the synthesis work.