ALICE records about 12 billion heavy-ion collisions

After a five-year pause, on the evening of 26 September, lead ions collided at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at an unprecedented high energy of 5.36 TeV per pair of nucleons (protons or neutrons) and a collision rate six ...

Superconducting nanowires detect single protein ions

An international research team led by quantum physicist Markus Arndt (University of Vienna) has achieved a breakthrough in the detection of protein ions: Due to their high energy sensitivity, superconducting nanowire detectors ...

Research achieves photo-induced superconductivity on a chip

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg, Germany, have shown that a previously demonstrated ability to turn on superconductivity with a laser beam can be integrated ...

Room-temperature superconductor study retracted by Nature

A study published in March claiming the discovery of a superconductor that works at room temperature—a scientific holy grail—has been retracted by the high-profile journal Nature at the request of most of its authors.

Self-correcting quantum computers within reach?

Quantum computers promise to reach speeds and efficiencies impossible for even the fastest supercomputers of today. Yet the technology hasn't seen much scale-up and commercialization largely due to its inability to self-correct. ...

Examining the superconducting diode effect

A collaboration of FLEET researchers from the University of Wollongong and Monash University have reviewed the superconducting diode effect, one of the most fascinating phenomena recently discovered in quantum condensed-matter ...

A new kind of chip for quantum technology

Today, we are living in the midst of a race to develop a quantum computer, one that could be used for practical applications. This device, built on the principles of quantum mechanics, holds the potential to perform computing ...

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Superconductivity is a phenomenon occurring in certain materials generally at very low temperatures, characterized by exactly zero electrical resistance and the exclusion of the interior magnetic field (the Meissner effect). It was discovered by Heike Kamerlingh Onnes in 1911. Like ferromagnetism and atomic spectral lines, superconductivity is a quantum mechanical phenomenon. It cannot be understood simply as the idealization of "perfect conductivity" in classical physics.

The electrical resistivity of a metallic conductor decreases gradually as the temperature is lowered. However, in ordinary conductors such as copper and silver, impurities and other defects impose a lower limit. Even near absolute zero a real sample of copper shows a non-zero resistance. The resistance of a superconductor, despite these imperfections, drops abruptly to zero when the material is cooled below its "critical temperature". An electric current flowing in a loop of superconducting wire can persist indefinitely with no power source.

Superconductivity occurs in a wide variety of materials, including simple elements like tin and aluminium, various metallic alloys and some heavily-doped semiconductors. Superconductivity does not occur in noble metals like gold and silver, nor in pure samples of ferromagnetic metals.

In 1986 the discovery of a family of cuprate-perovskite ceramic materials known as high-temperature superconductors, with critical temperatures in excess of 90 kelvin, spurred renewed interest and research in superconductivity for several reasons. As a topic of pure research, these materials represented a new phenomenon not explained by the current theory. In addition, because the superconducting state persists up to more manageable temperatures, past the economically-important boiling point of liquid nitrogen (77 kelvin), more commercial applications are feasible, especially if materials with even higher critical temperatures could be discovered.

See also the history of superconductivity.

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