How to identify chiral superconductivity in new materials

Apr 22, 2010 By Miranda Marquit feature

(PhysOrg.com) -- "Chiral superconductivity is the dream of mankind," Carlo Beenakker tells PhysOrg.com. "All sorts of scientists are working on it, and there are many labs trying to create materials that are predicted to provide chiral p-wave superconductivity."

Beenakker is a scientist at the Instituut-Lorentz of Leiden University in The Netherlands. Along with Serban, Béri and Akhmerov, Beenakker is in a group that says it has produced a test for determining whether or not a material meets the criteria for chiral p-wave . The work of the group is described in : “Domain Wall in a Chiral p-Wave Superconductor: A Pathway for Electrical Current.”

“Efforts are going into creating a chiral superconductor, in which there is transport in one direction, instead of two. This superconductor would have electrons moving in only one direction,” Beenakker explains. “This has been seen in the quantum Hall effects, and scientists are interested in other systems that would show similar characteristics of electrons moving in one direction without resistance.”

Right now, chiral transport in a superconductor is difficult to detect. While many labs and scientific groups are laboring with different materials to create chiral transport in a superconductor, there are challenges to actually knowing when this is accomplished. This is where Beenakker and his colleagues, along with their test, come in. “We propose what should work as a test to verify that a chiral p-wave superconductor has, in fact, been created,” he says.

The test would be administered by first hooking up a wire to the opposite ends of a domain wall of the material. “Next, we would apply a voltage to see if you can send current from one side to the other,” Beenakker says. “Then, you could invert the voltage, to see if the current can flow in the opposite direction. In this way you could find out whether it is going in only one direction.”

Such a test is a step in efforts to develop that could be used for a variety of applications in the future. “We are theorists, coming up with ideas that could be useful in experiments,” Beenakker explains. “This test could be used in the development of future superconductor technology. A group would say that they think they have developed a chiral superconductor, and then they could use this test to determine whether or not it truly is such a superconductor. This test provides a way to observe chirality in a way that has not been available up to this point.”

Beenakker says that the work of the group in The Netherlands is especially exciting since it could lead to different ways of building quantum computers. “Chiral p-wave superconductors are among the candidates for supercomputer platforms,” he points out. “Being able to find these materials, would be very helpful in moving forward with quantum computing. If p-wave superconductors really exist, and we can make them accessible and robust in labs, it could be a significant step forward in terms of making the building blocks of quantum computing.”

Explore further: Researchers devise broad-bandwidth amplifier that ups gain by more than 10 db

More information: I. Serban, B. Béri, A.R. Akhmerov, C.W. J. Beenakker, “Domain Wall in a Chiral p-Wave Superconductor: A Pathway for Electrical Current,” Physical Review Letters (2010). Available online: link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevLett.104.147001

3.6 /5 (19 votes)

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User comments : 8

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broglia
3 / 5 (6) Apr 22, 2010
Before some time I proposed a technology, based on principle of damascus steel preparation for production of 1D superconductors, composed of thin hole stripes of thickness at atomar level.

http://tinyurl.com/25ykk97

It could work particularly well for organic superconductors, which are plastic.

http://physicswor...ews/2705
broglia
3 / 5 (4) Apr 22, 2010
BTW so-called topological insulators (Bi2Te3) are conductive in one direction under ifluence of external magnetic fields, too (their conductivity differs in 1:10E+5 ratio along particular axes)
FenixL
5 / 5 (8) Apr 22, 2010
"The test would be administered by first hooking up a wire to the opposite ends of a domain wall of the material. “Next, we would apply a voltage to see if you can send current from one side to the other,” Beenakker says. “Then, you could invert the voltage, to see if the current can flow in the opposite direction. In this way you could find out whether it is going in only one direction.”"

Seriously?
jamey
5 / 5 (7) Apr 22, 2010
We know semiconductors can make diodes - now we're going to have superconductor diodes? Seriously - "How do we test to see if current flows in only one direction?" "Oh, oh, I know! Hook up a current and send it one way and then then other!" "Brilliant! Nobel Prize guaranteed!"
Alizee
Apr 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
Apr 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
billyswong
5 / 5 (2) Apr 22, 2010
FenixL: This is another example of over-dumped-down articles. Important stuff are omitted and only misleading descriptions are left.
Ashibayai
5 / 5 (2) Apr 22, 2010
I figured there had to be something more to this article because that sounded ridiculously simplistic...
broglia
5 / 5 (2) Apr 23, 2010
Above explanations were downwoted - so I presume, this aspect isn't probably so important for most of readers at all.
Husky
not rated yet Apr 24, 2010
so, if we build a coil out of monodirectional chiral superconductor, do we get an electromagnet that acts like a monopole as well?