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.
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)
For more detail: Superconductivity Exhibited by New Material with Room Temp Hopes