martes, 17 de junio de 2014

Superconducting secrets solved after 30 years

A breakthrough has been made in identifying the origin of superconductivity in high-temperature superconductors, which has puzzled researchers for the past three decades.

By identifying other materials which have similar properties, hopefully it will help us find new superconductors at higher and higher temperatures

Harnessing the enormous technological potential of high-temperature superconductors – which could be used in lossless electrical grids, next-generation supercomputers and levitating trains – could be much more straightforward in future, as the origin of superconductivity in these materials has finally been identified.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have found that ripples of electrons, known as charge density waves or charge order, create twisted ‘pockets’ of electrons in these materials, from which superconductivity emerges.

Low-temperature, or conventional, superconductors were first identified in the early 20th century, but they need to be cooled close to absolute zero (zero degrees on the Kelvin scale, or -273 degrees Celsius) before they start to display superconductivity.

What is different about superconductors is that the electrons travel in tightly bound pairs.

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