Japanese scientists use alcoholic drinks to induce superconductivity

Mar 07, 2011

Japanese researchers have been immersing iron-based compounds in hot alcoholic beverages such as red wine, sake and shochu to induce superconductivity.

Scientists from the National Institute for , Japan, found that immersing pellets of an iron-based compound in heated for 24 hours greatly increase their superconducting ability.

Iron-based compounds usually become superconductive after being exposed to air. This process however can take up to several months. This study demonstrated that can be induced in just one day.

Due to the variety of technological applications of , there has been a scramble for substances that may induce and enhance superconductivity in iron-based compounds.

The alcoholic beverages used were red and white wine, beer, Japanese sake, shochu, and . Samples of the iron-based compound were immersed in each beverage, heated at 70oC for 24 hours, and then analysed.

Red wine was shown to induce the best superconducting properties; however beverages with the same alcohol concentration showed a significant difference. This suggests that it may not be the alcohol contributing to the creation of superconductivity but instead another component present in the beverages.

Iron-based compounds undergo a process called magnetic order whereby the molecules align in a regular pattern. To achieve superconductivity, magnetic order must be suppressed. In order to become superconductive, the elements in the iron-based compounds must be substituted with elements present in alcohol.

The exact mechanism behind this effect is largely unknown however the researchers suggest that it may be due to the insertion of electrically charged particles into the layers of the compound.

An alternative theory is that the alcoholic beverages help to supply oxygen into the sample, which in turn causes superconductivity. A clearer understanding will be had by analysing the structure and composition of the beverages to identify the key factor in inducing superconductivity.

Professor Yoshihiko Takano, Nano Frontier Materials Group at the National Institute for Materials Science, Japan, said, "The iron compound becomes superconductive by air exposure but the sample needs to be exposed to air for a few months to show superconductivity. This is a very, very long time.

"However, the sample immersed in the becomes superconductive only in one day, much faster than air-exposure."

Explore further: Warming up the world of superconductors

More information: Alcoholic beverages induce superconductivity in FeTe1-xSx, K Deguchi et al 2011 Supercond. Sci. Technol. 24 055008, iopscience.iop.org/0953-2048/24/5/055008

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User comments : 11

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5 / 5 (2) Mar 07, 2011
It makes you wonder how they stumbled upon this discovery.
5 / 5 (6) Mar 07, 2011
this is old
not rated yet Mar 07, 2011
It's not 1st April is it?
5 / 5 (4) Mar 07, 2011
this is old

Yeah, was hoping for this to be an update.
5 / 5 (3) Mar 07, 2011
old news...
5 / 5 (3) Mar 07, 2011
Same article Jan. 11 http://www.physor...tor.html
not rated yet Mar 07, 2011
The only difference I see from the last article is this time they discuss the rate of oxidization. Surely we have more productive ways to oxidize an iron-based compound than with booze. Even 24 hours is far too long for effecient production.
1 / 5 (1) Mar 07, 2011
I wonder what the compound is.
not rated yet Mar 08, 2011
I wonder what the compound is.

Tannins perhaps? They're present in all the beverages tested and red wine which produced the greatest effect has highest concentrations.
not rated yet Mar 08, 2011
"Iron sulfate is used to make writing inks and dyes by reaction with "tannic acid" , followed by air oxidation to make intensely blue-black iron tannates."

NIMS is researching dye-sensitized solar cells, this discovery may be a result of that research.
not rated yet Mar 14, 2011
Still, it represents one of the cutting edges of research into "superconductivity".... Whether old or not.

Spanky sez: does anyone remember Professer Heim?

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