Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Controlling superconductors with light

Date:
August 27, 2012
Source:
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Summary:
By shining a light on a thin layer of molecules coating a material, scientists have been able to control the critical temperature at which the material can act as a superconductor. This method might be used to develop more powerful computing devices able to save data and run continuously without generating heat and wasting energy.

A superconductor, which can move electrical energy with no wasteful resistance, is the holy grail of cost-effective, efficient, and "green" power production. Unlike traditional conductors such as copper or silver, which waste power resources and lose energy when they heat up, an ideal superconductor would continuously carry electrical current without losing any power.

But creating a true superconductor is tricky. Though the concept of high temperature superconductors is more than two decades old, finding and controlling the right materials has been a challenge. Now Prof. Yoram Dagan of Tel Aviv University's Department of Physics and Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology has discovered an innovative way to manipulate superconducting materials.

Temperature is a crucial element for superconductors, explains Prof. Dagan -- each material has a critical temperature when it becomes superconducting. But by manipulating different types of light, including UV and visible light, he and his fellow researchers are able to alter the critical temperatures of superconducting materials. This finding adds to a growing toolbox for controlling and improving the technology.

The research has been published in Angewandte Chemie and featured in Nature Nanotechnology.

Shining a light

Scientists have long sought ways to alter the temperature of superconducting materials, making them more practical. One of these methods includes chemical doping, removing or adding ions such as oxygen to alter the critical temperature of the material. But Prof. Dagan said that he and his fellow researchers were inspired to find a simpler way.

In the lab, they put a thin layer, one organic molecule thick, atop a superconducting film, approximately 50 nanometers thick. When researchers shined a light on these molecules, the molecules stretched and changed shape, altering the properties of the superconducting film -- most importantly, altering the critical temperature at which the material acted as a superconductor.

The researchers tested three separate molecules. The first was able to increase the critical temperature of the superconducting film. With the second molecule, they found that shining an ultraviolet light heightened the material's critical temperature, while visible light lowered it. Finally, with the third molecule, they found that simply by turning a light on, critical temperature was raised -- and lowered again when the light was switched off. Prof. Dagan calls this discovery a new "knob" for controlling the temperature of superconducting materials.

Small changes, big impact

The power of this finding is that instead of changing the temperature of the material itself, a more complicated process, the material can remain at the same temperature when the film is altered. This is a small change that results in very large responses from devices, says Prof. Dagan: "It's a strong response for a small amount of light."

One of the potential future applications of this finding might be a "non-dissipated memory," which would be able to save data and run continuously without generating heat and wasting energy.

This research, a collaboration between the Departments of Physics, Chemistry, and the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, included Drs. Michael Gozen and Shachar Richter, Post-Doctoral Fellow Dr. Itai Carmeli, and graduate student Avraham Lewin on the team.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Itai Carmeli, Avraham Lewin, Erez Flekser, Itay Diamant, Qiang Zhang, Jingshan Shen, Michael Gozin, Shachar Richter, Yoram Dagan. Tuning the Critical Temperature of Cuprate Superconductor Films with Self-Assembled Organic Layers. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2012; 51 (29): 7162 DOI: 10.1002/anie.201201606

Cite This Page:

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Controlling superconductors with light." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827122503.htm>.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. (2012, August 27). Controlling superconductors with light. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827122503.htm
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Controlling superconductors with light." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827122503.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Several companies unveiled virtual reality headsets at the Tokyo Game Show, Asia's largest digital entertainment exhibition. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

AP (Sep. 17, 2014) The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low because a broad range of U.S. economic measures remain subpar. Stocks hit an all-time high on the news. (Sept. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) MIT developed a robot modeled after a cheetah. It can run up to speeds of 10 mph, though researchers estimate it will eventually reach 30 mph. Video provided by Newsy
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