Superconductivity Exhibited by New Material with Room Temp Hopes

PORTLAND, Ore. — Today we have superconductors levitating trains for high-speed transportation, superconductors wired as ultra-sensitive sensors for MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and superconducting coils powering ultra-strong electromagnets for beam steering in particle accelerators. However, if a room-temperature version of these superconductors — which today have to be ultra-cooled — could be found, then they could lower the power consumption and increase the capabilities of mobile devices almost immeasurably.

Superconductivity Exhibited by New Material with Room Temp Hopes

Researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory have not solved the room-temperature superconductivity problem, but they have proven that a new material exhibits superconductivity in a new way, which they think may lead to cracking the secret to room-temperature superconductivity. Once understood, engineers will be able to create “designer” materials that are compatible with CMOS and yet superconduct at room temperature.

New material experiments prove superconductors have a second type of electron density distribution, called a nematic, that could lead to room-temperature operation. Top: Ripples extending down the chain of atoms break translational symmetry (like a checkerboard with black and white squares), which would cause extra spots in the diffraction pattern (shown as red dots in the underlying diffraction pattern). Bottom: Stretching along one direction breaks rotational symmetry but not translational symmetry (like a checkerboard with identical squares but stretched in one of the directions), causing no additional diffraction spots.
(Image: Brookhaven National Labs, Ben Frandsen)


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