Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Superconductors Present New Mysteries, Possibilities

Date:
June 5, 2008
Source:
Johns Hopkins University
Summary:
Researchers gave unlocked some of the secrets of newly discovered iron-based high-temperature superconductors, research that could result in the design of better superconductors for use in industry, medicine, transportation and energy generation.

Johns Hopkins University researchers and colleagues in China have unlocked some of the secrets of newly discovered iron-based high-temperature superconductors, research that could result in the design of better superconductors for use in industry, medicine, transportation and energy generation.

Related Articles


In an article published today in the journal Nature, the team, led by Chia-Ling Chien, the Jacob L. Hain Professor of Physics and director of the Material Research Science and Engineering Center at The Johns Hopkins University, offers insights into why the characteristics of a new family of iron-based superconductors reveal the need for fresh theoretical models which could, they say, pave the way for the development of superconductors that can operate at room temperature.

"It appears to us that the new iron-based superconductors disclose a new physics, contain new mysteries and may start us along an uncharted pathway to room temperature superconductivity," said Chien, who teamed up on the research with Tingyong Chen and Zlatko Tesanovic, both of Johns Hopkins, and X.H. Chen and R.H. Liu of the Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Science at Microscale and Department of Physics, University of Science and Technology of China in Anhui, China.

Superconductors are materials that can carry electrical current without friction and as a result, don't waste electrical energy generating heat. (Imagine your laptop computer or PC not getting warm when it is turned on.) This means that an electrical current can flow in a loop of superconducting wire forever without a power source. Today, superconductors are used in hospital MRI machines, as filters in cell phone base stations and in high-speed magnetic levitating trains. Unfortunately, most of today's superconducting materials can only function and operate at extremely low temperatures, which means that they must be paired with expensive supercooling equipment. This presents researchers with a grand challenge: to find superconducting material that can operate at more "normal" temperatures.

"If superconductors could exist at room temperatures, the world energy crisis would be solved," Chen said.

Chen explains that though all metals contain mobile electrons which conduct electricity, a metal becomes a superconductor only when two electrons with opposite "spins" are paired. The superconductor energy "gap," which is the amount of energy that would be needed to break the bond between two electrons forming such a pair to release them from one another, determines the robustness or strength of the superconducting state. This energy gap is highest at low temperatures, but vanishes at the temperatures at which superconductivity ceases to exist.

"This gap -- its structure and temperature dependence -- reveal the 'soul' of the superconductor, and this is what was measured in our experiment," Chien said.

The team measured this gap and its temperature variation, revealing that the pairing mechanism in iron-based superconductors is different from the one in more traditional, copper-based, high-temperature superconductors. To the researchers' surprise, their results were incompatible with some of the newly proposed theories in this mushrooming field.

"In the face of this discovery, it is clear that we need to reexamine the old and invent some new theoretical models," Tesanovic said. "I predict that these new, iron-based superconductors will keep us physicists busy for a long, long while."

This research was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Natural Science Foundation of China.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins University. "New Superconductors Present New Mysteries, Possibilities." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080604150539.htm>.
Johns Hopkins University. (2008, June 5). New Superconductors Present New Mysteries, Possibilities. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080604150539.htm
Johns Hopkins University. "New Superconductors Present New Mysteries, Possibilities." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080604150539.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 30, 2015) A nanosensor that mimics the oral effects and sensations of drinking wine has been developed by Danish and Portuguese researchers. Jim Drury saw it in operation. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tesla 'Insane Mode' Gives Unsuspecting Passengers the Ride of Their Life

Tesla 'Insane Mode' Gives Unsuspecting Passengers the Ride of Their Life

RightThisMinute (Jan. 29, 2015) If your car has an "Insane Mode" then you know it&apos;s fast. Well, these unsuspecting passengers were in for one insane ride when they hit the button. Tesla cars are awesome. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com
Now Bill Gates Is 'Concerned' About Artificial Intelligence

Now Bill Gates Is 'Concerned' About Artificial Intelligence

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Bill Gates joins the list of tech moguls scared of super-intelligent machines. He says more people should be concerned, but why? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) The Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bipartisan bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Jan. 29) 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