Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Explaining How "Oil And Water" Mix In Superconductors May Lead To Practical Applications, Lucent Scientists Report

Date:
May 21, 1998
Source:
Bell Labs - Lucent Technologies
Summary:
Lucent Technologies researchers have discovered how magnetic particles can live peacefully within a unique class of superconducting materials. This finding, reported in the May 21 cover article in the journal Nature, may be a crucial step in developing superconductors with practical applications because magnetism usually destroys all beneficial effects of superconductivity.

MURRAY HILL, N.J. -- Lucent Technologies researchers have discovered how magnetic particles can live peacefully within a unique class of superconducting materials. This finding, reported in the May 21 cover article in the journal Nature, may be a crucial step in developing superconductors with practical applications because magnetism usually destroys all beneficial effects of superconductivity.

Related Articles


In 1986, when scientists found superconducting materials that lose all resistance to electric current at world-record high temperatures, they thought these superconductors might be used to build levitating trains and very high-speed electronic circuits. They soon discovered an obstacle, however. As the current flows through the superconducting material, it generates a magnetic field, whose whirlpool-like tubes of electric charge can stop the current cold. "Nailing" down these tubes, or vortices, so that they cannot move and disrupt the flow of current has been a worldwide effort for many scientists, including the Lucent researchers.

"We're all trying to find the best way to keep the snakes from wandering," said physicist David Bishop of Lucent's Bell Labs. "In this case, we first needed to find out where the snakes were."

For the last three years, Bishop and Peter Gammel, also of Bell Labs, have been leading an international team studying an unusual class of superconductors. Known as nickel borocarbides, they are comprised of both magnetic and superconducting materials, which appear to peacefully coexist as their atoms happily intermingle.

"Just like water and oil, you wouldn't expect magnetic material to mix with superconducting material," Bishop said, referring to the nickel borocarbides, which were discovered five years ago at Bell Labs by his former colleague Bob Cava.

In a series of experiments, Bishop, Gammel and their colleagues bombarded the nickel borocarbide with subatomic particles known as neutrons, which are not charged but have a specific magnetic spin. This approach is much like throwing a little magnet at a large magnet and then being able to deduce the latter's magnetic properties by seeing how the small one scatters. They hoped that the interaction of the neutrons with both the magnetic material and the whirlpool-like vortices (generated by an external magnetic field) would reveal the inner workings of nickel borocarbides.

The experiments showed that as the magnetic properties of the vortices changed, the shape of the lattice they were in also changed suddenly from a square to a hexagon. And as the vortices changed, the molecular structure of the magnetic material also changed. Based on these observations, the researchers concluded that the structure of the magnetic material directly influenced the structure of the vortex lattice.

Scientists had never before observed these sudden transitions in vortex patterns in a superconducting material. So this phenomenon provides evidence that researchers can alter the vortex patterns by merely changing a material's underlying magnetic structure.

"Magnetic vortices have always been elusive and difficult to hold onto," Bishop said, "but the observations in this experiment give us a strong new handle - the magnetism produced by the magnetic material itself -- to grab them." Previous ways to pin down vortices in other superconductors have included introducing defects or impurities into the material.

Lucent Technologies, headquartered in Murray Hill, N.J., designs, builds and delivers a wide range of public and private networks, communications systems and software, data networking systems, business telephone systems and microelectronic components. For more information on Lucent Technologies, visit the company's web site at http://www.lucent.com.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Bell Labs - Lucent Technologies. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Bell Labs - Lucent Technologies. "Explaining How "Oil And Water" Mix In Superconductors May Lead To Practical Applications, Lucent Scientists Report." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980519173014.htm>.
Bell Labs - Lucent Technologies. (1998, May 21). Explaining How "Oil And Water" Mix In Superconductors May Lead To Practical Applications, Lucent Scientists Report. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980519173014.htm
Bell Labs - Lucent Technologies. "Explaining How "Oil And Water" Mix In Superconductors May Lead To Practical Applications, Lucent Scientists Report." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980519173014.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A California-based startup has designed new law enforcement technology that aims to automatically alert dispatch when an officer's gun is unholstered and fired. Two law enforcement agencies are currently testing the technology. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins