Breakthrough experiment on high-temperature superconductors

December 12, 2008
Breakthrough experiment on high-temperature superconductors
The highly unusual situation shown in this plot had not been predicted by any known theoretical model.

( -- New information about the metallic state from which high temperature superconductivity emerges, has been revealed in an innovative experiment performed at the University of Bristol.

The international team of physicists, led by Professor Nigel Hussey from the University’s Physics Department, publish their results today in Science Express, a rapid online access service for important new publications in the journal Science.

Superconductivity is a process by which a pair of electrons travelling in opposite directions and with opposite spin direction suddenly become attracted to one another. By pairing up, the two electrons manage to lose all their electrical resistance. This superconducting state means that current can flow without the aid of a battery.

Historically, this remarkable state had always been considered a very low temperature phenomenon, thus the origin of the superconductivity peculiar to very unusual metallic materials termed ‘high temperature superconductors’, still remains a mystery.

Hussey and his team used ultra-high (pulsed) magnetic fields – some of the most powerful in the world – to destroy the superconductivity and follow the form of the electrical resistance down to temperatures close to absolute zero.

They found that it was as the superconductivity becomes stronger, so does the scattering that causes the resistance in the metallic host from which superconductivity emerges. At some point however, the interaction that promotes high temperature superconductivity gets so strong, that ultimately it destroys the very electronic states from which the superconducting pairs form. The next step will be to identify just what that interaction is and how might it be possible to get around its self-destructive tendencies.

In doing this experiment, the team was able to reveal information that will help theorists to develop a more complete theory to explain the properties of high temperature superconductors.

“Indeed”, said Hussey, “if researchers are able to identify what make these superconductors tick, and the electrons to pair up, then material scientists might be able to create a room temperature superconductor. This holy grail of superconductivity research holds the promise of loss-free energy transmission, cheap, fast, levitated transport and a whole host of other revolutionary technological innovations.”


Provided by University of Bristol

Explore further: Novel intermediate energy X-ray beamline opening for researchers

Related Stories

Superconductor survives ultra-high magnetic field

November 12, 2015

Physicists from the universities of Groningen and Nijmegen (the Netherlands) and Hong Kong have discovered that transistors made of ultrathin layers molybdeendisulfide (MoS2) are not only superconducting at low temperatures ...

Entering the strange world of ultra-cold chemistry

November 2, 2015

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have received a $900,000 grant from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) to study the unusual chemical and physical properties of atoms and molecules ...

Recommended for you

Turbulence in bacterial cultures

November 30, 2015

Turbulent flows surround us, from complex cloud formations to rapidly flowing rivers. Populations of motile bacteria in liquid media can also exhibit patterns of collective motion that resemble turbulent flows, provided the ...

Test racetrack dipole magnet produces record 16 tesla field

November 30, 2015

A new world record has been broken by the CERN magnet group when their racetrack test magnet produced a 16.2 tesla (16.2T) peak field – nearly twice that produced by the current LHC dipoles and the highest ever for a dipole ...

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

November 25, 2015

The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever. The LHC has been colliding ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jan 14, 2009
now YOU guys are getting close, except it is not electrons that pair up-but north and south pole individual magnets. You will find that they will flow in the same direction,instead of against each other when surrounded by a magnetic field. this will then truly be room temp. S C without resistance or heat loss. You will have to run pos. and neg. electricity through one wire at the same time. this will emulate gravity in a way, as this is the only time they flow together in the same direction at the same time. once perfected, by adding certain sound waves, or certain light waves We will be able to build such devices like force fields, hover boards, hand held lazer guns, and a lot more futeristic devices. it is so simple no one has ever done it this way except maybe Tesla or Ed leedskalnin.And Yes I have some ideas on how it will be done. We need unconventional thinkers.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.