Breakthrough experiment on high-temperature superconductors

Dec 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.

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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.”

Journal: www.sciencemag.org/sciencexpress/recent.dtl

Provided by University of Bristol

Explore further: Cold Atom Laboratory creates atomic dance

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How magnetic dimers interact to create long-range order

Oct 13, 2014

Researchers carrying out experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Photon Source (APS) and Spallation Neutron Source have shed new light on how magnetic long-range order forms and remains stable ...

The remarkable simplicity of complexity

Oct 01, 2014

From the fractal patterns of snowflakes to cellular lifeforms, our universe is full of complex phenomena – but how does this complexity arise?

Recommended for you

Cold Atom Laboratory creates atomic dance

3 hours ago

Like dancers in a chorus line, atoms' movements become synchronized when lowered to extremely cold temperatures. To study this bizarre phenomenon, called a Bose-Einstein condensate, researchers need to cool ...

Scientists create possible precursor to life

10 hours ago

How did life originate? And can scientists create life? These questions not only occupy the minds of scientists interested in the origin of life, but also researchers working with technology of the future. ...

Superconducting circuits, simplified

Oct 17, 2014

Computer chips with superconducting circuits—circuits with zero electrical resistance—would be 50 to 100 times as energy-efficient as today's chips, an attractive trait given the increasing power consumption ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

magnatricity
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.