Their technique works by growing single crystal films of the superconducting compound lanthanum-strontium-copper-oxide (La1.9Sr0.1CuO4) on top of a crystal with a smaller lattice spacing. Because the layers are very thin, the layer of superconductor is placed under 'epitaxial' strain. The compression in a single plane produces much greater improvements in Tc than standard ways of applying pressure.

If the same techniques can be applied to the compounds with the highest transition temperatures, the authors believe their method has the potential to raise Tc beyond 200 K, a feat they hope might reignite the race towards room-temperature superconductivity.