Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Dan Dessau


A major focus in condensed matter physics is finding materials which display superconductiv- ity at high temperatures, and examining the underlying causes of this behavior. Organic supercon- ductors have remained limited to lower temperatures, until Wang et al. suggested in March 2017 that p-terphenyl becomes superconducting when doped in a 3:1 ratio with potassium, with a critical temperature of 123 K. The investigations of the material have been limited by the ability to mea- sure conductivity, a key defining trait of superconductors. This thesis describes the investigation of several methods for producing doped material with a continuous conducting region. The methods explored are in-solution doping, vapor deposition in small apparatus, and thin layer growth in an ultra high vacuum chamber. In-solution doping and vapor deposition are shown to be unpromising techniques. While thin film growth has yet to produce a viable sample, it remains a promising method. Several flaws in the thin film growth method are described, along with the steps taken to remedy them. Currently this method is able to produce reliable data, and leaves the Dessau group with the capacity to further explore the possibilities of superconducting polyphenyls.