A new wave of optimism buoyed the superconductivity community in 2008 when physicists in Japan unveiled the first iron-based superconductor. Physicists had been struggling for more than 20 years to understand high-temperature superconductivity in cuprate materials and the new iron superconductors offered a new way forward.

In this exclusive video interview with physicsworld.com at the March Meeting of the American Physical Society Dallas, Texas, Laura H Greene of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign explains how the discovery "broke the tyranny of the cuprates" by giving researchers a new family of superconducting materials to study.

This optimism is now stronger than ever, says Greene, who calls for a global collaboration of physicists to develop ways of designing new types of superconductors with predictable properties.

Greene has also written a feature article on superconductivity in the April 2011 issue of Physics World, which can be downloaded free of charge. Her article can also be read via this link.