Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Room Temperature Superconductivity: One Step Closer To Holy Grail Of Physics

Date:
July 10, 2008
Source:
University of Cambridge
Summary:
Scientists have for the first time identified a key component to unraveling the mystery of room temperature superconductivity. Materials that could potentially transport electricity with zero resistance at room temperature hold vast potential -- magnetically levitated superfast train, lossless power generators and transmission lines, powerful supercomputers, etc.

Magnetic fields penetrate the superconducting state in an array of vortices where superconductivity is locally destroyed.
Credit: National High Magnetic Field Laboratory

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have for the first time identified a key component to unravelling the mystery of room temperature superconductivity, according to a paper published in the journal Nature.

The quest for room temperature superconductivity has gripped physics researchers since they saw the possibility more than two decades ago. Materials that could potentially transport electricity with zero loss (resistance) at room temperature hold vast potential; some of the possible applications include a magnetically levitated superfast train, efficient magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), lossless power generators, transformers, and transmission lines, powerful supercomputers, etc.

Unfortunately, scientists have been unable to decipher how copper oxide materials superconduct at extremely cold temperatures (such as that of liquid nitrogen), much less design materials that can superconduct at higher temperatures.

Materials that are known to superconduct at the highest temperatures are, unexpectedly, ceramic insulators that behave as magnets before 'doping' (the method of introducing impurities to a semiconductor to modify its electrical properties). Upon doping charge carriers (holes or electrons) into these parent magnetic insulators, they mysteriously begin to superconduct, i.e. the doped carriers form pairs that carry electricity without loss.

The essential conundrum facing researchers in this area has been: how does a magnet that cannot transport electricity transform into a superconductor that is a perfect conductor of electricity? The Cambridge team have made a significant advance in answering this question.

The researchers have discovered where the charge 'hole' carriers that play a significant role in the superconductivity originate within the electronic structure of copper-oxide superconductors. These findings are particularly important for the next step of deciphering the glue that binds the holes together and determining what enables them to superconduct.

Dr Suchitra E. Sebastian, lead author of the study, commented, "An experimental difficulty in the past has been accessing the underlying microscopics of the system once it begins to superconduct. Superconductivity throws a manner of 'veil' over the system, hiding its inner workings from experimental probes. A major advance has been our use of high magnetic fields, which punch holes through the superconducting shroud, known as vortices - regions where superconductivity is destroyed, through which the underlying electronic structure can be probed.

"We have successfully unearthed for the first time in a high temperature superconductor the location in the electronic structure where 'pockets' of doped hole carriers aggregate. Our experiments have thus made an important advance toward understanding how superconducting pairs form out of these hole pockets."

By determining exactly where the doped holes aggregate in the electronic structure of these superconductors, the researchers have been able to advance understanding in two vital areas:

(1) A direct probe revealing the location and size of pockets of holes is an essential step to determining how these particles stick together to superconduct.

(2) Their experiments have successfully accessed the region betwixt magnetism and superconductivity: when the superconducting veil is partially lifted, their experiments suggest the existence of underlying magnetism which shapes the hole pockets. Interplay between magnetism and superconductivity is therefore indicated - leading to the next question to be addressed.

Do these forms of order compete, with magnetism appearing in the vortex regions where superconductivity is killed, as they suggest? Or do they complement each other by some more intricate mechanism? One possibility they suggest for the coexistence of two very different physical phenomena is that the non-superconducting vortex cores may behave in concert, exhibiting collective magnetism while the rest of the material superconducts.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. A multi-component Fermi surface in the vortex state of an underdoped high-Tc superconductor. Nature, July 9, 2008

Cite This Page:

University of Cambridge. "Room Temperature Superconductivity: One Step Closer To Holy Grail Of Physics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080709144157.htm>.
University of Cambridge. (2008, July 10). Room Temperature Superconductivity: One Step Closer To Holy Grail Of Physics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080709144157.htm
University of Cambridge. "Room Temperature Superconductivity: One Step Closer To Holy Grail Of Physics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080709144157.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) 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:
from the past week

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