Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A Step Nearer To Understanding Superconductivity

Date:
June 7, 2007
Source:
CNRS
Summary:
Transporting energy without any loss, travelling in magnetically levitated trains, carrying out medical imaging (MRI) with small-scale equipment: all these things could come true if we had superconducting materials that worked at room temperature. Researchers have now taken another step forward on the road leading to this ultimate goal. They have revealed the metallic nature of a class of so-called critical high-temperature superconducting materials.

Magnetic levitation experiment: The car contains two disks of YBa2Cu3O7 -- a high-temperature superconductor, cooled with liquid nitrogen. The road made up of magnets creates a magnetic field which cannot penetrate the car. All occurs as if the magnetic field were a very strong draught which would raise the car. In the absence of friction, it is then enough to give a starting impulse to the car so that it advances (indefinitely) on the road.
Credit: Copyright J. Billette - CNRS 2007

Transporting energy without any loss, travelling in magnetically levitated trains, carrying out medical imaging (MRI) with small-scale equipment: all these things could come true if we had superconducting materials that worked at room temperature. Researchers at CNRS have now taken another step forward on the road leading to this ultimate goal. They have revealed the metallic nature of a class of so-called critical high-temperature superconducting materials.

Related Articles


This result, which was published in the 31 May 2007 issue of the journal Nature, has been eagerly awaited for 20 years. It paves the way to an understanding of this phenomenon and makes it possible to contemplate its complete theoretical description.

Superconductivity is a state of matter characterized by zero electrical resistance and impermeability to a magnetic field. For instance, it is already used in medical imaging (MRI devices), and could find spectacular applications in the transport and storage of electrical energy without loss, the development of transport systems based on magnetic levitation, wireless communication and even quantum computers.

However, for now, such applications are limited by the fact that superconductivity only occurs at very low temperatures. In fact, it was only once a way of liquefying helium had been developed, which requires a temperature of 4.2 kelvins (-269 C), that superconductivity was discovered, in 1911 (a discovery for which the Nobel Prize was awarded two years later.)

Since the end of the 1980s (Nobel Prize in 1987), researchers have managed to obtain 'high temperature' superconducting materials: some of these compounds can be made superconducting simply by using liquid nitrogen (77 K, or -196 C). The record critical temperature (the phase transition temperature below which superconductivity occurs) is today 138 K (-135 C).

This new class of superconductors, which are easier and cheaper to use, has given fresh impetus to the race to find ever higher critical temperatures, with the ultimate goal of obtaining materials which are superconducting at room temperature. However, until now, researchers have been held back by some fundamental questions. What causes superconductivity at microscopic scales" How do electrons behave in such materials"

Researchers at the National Laboratory for Pulsed Magnetic Fields2, working together with researchers at Sherbrooke, have observed 'quantum oscillations', thanks to their experience in working with intense magnetic fields. They subjected their samples to a magnetic field of as much as 62 teslas (a million times stronger than the Earth's magnetic field), at very low temperatures (between 1.5 K and 4.2 K).

The magnetic field destroys the superconducting state, and the sample, now in a normal state, shows an oscillation of its electrical resistance as a function of the magnetic field. Such an oscillation is characteristic of metals: it means that, in the samples that were studied, the electrons behaved in the same way as in ordinary metals.

The researchers will be able to use this discovery, which has been eagerly awaited for 20 years, to improve their understanding of critical high-temperature superconductivity, which until now had resisted all attempts at modeling it. The discovery has been effective in sorting out the many theories which had emerged to explain the phenomenon, and provides a firm foundation on which to build a new theory. It will make it possible to design more efficient materials, with critical temperatures closer to room temperature.

Reference: Quantum oscillations and the Fermi surface in an underdoped high-Tc superconductor, Nicolas Doiron-Leyraud, Cyril Proust, David LeBoeuf, Julien Levallois, Jean-Baptiste Bonnemaison, Ruixing Liang, D. A. Bonn, W. N. Hardy, Louis Taillefer, Nature, 31 May 2007, Vol 447, pp 565-568.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CNRS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

CNRS. "A Step Nearer To Understanding Superconductivity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 June 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070606113408.htm>.
CNRS. (2007, June 7). A Step Nearer To Understanding Superconductivity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070606113408.htm
CNRS. "A Step Nearer To Understanding Superconductivity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070606113408.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Students from Lund University's Malmo Academy of Music are believed to be the world's first band to all use 3D printed instruments. The guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and drums were built by Olaf Diegel, professor of product development, who says 3D printing allows musicians to design an instrument to their exact specifications. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) 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