Researchers develop new understanding for superconductivity at high temperatures

January 13th, 2008 - 1:03 pm ICT by admin  


Washington, Jan 13 (ANI): An international research team has come up with a new understanding for superconductivity at high temperatures, when it discovered the fact that a magnetic field can interact with the electrons in a superconductor in ways never before observed.

This was observed by researchers at the Universite de Montreal in Canada in an extraordinary compound of metals a combination of cobalt, indium and a rare earth that loses its resistance when cooled to just a couple of degrees above absolute zero.

The experiment was carried out by Andrea D. Bianchi, the lead researcher from the Universite de Montreal , at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland.

Using the Swiss Spallation Neutron Source (SINQ), Professor Bianchi and his team cooled a single-crystal sample of CeCoIn5 down to 50mK above absolute zero and applied a magnetic field nearly high enough to entirely suppress superconductivity.

They found that the core of the vortices feature electronic spins that are partly aligned with the magnetic field.

This is the first experimental evidence that a theory that describes the properties of superconducting vortices.

“When subjected to intense magnetic fields, these materials produce a completely new type of magnetic tornado that grows stronger with increasing fields rather than weakening,” said Bianchi. “The beauty of this compound is how we can experiment without breaking it,” he added.

According to Bianchi, “This discovery sharpens our understanding of what, literally, holds the world together and brings physicists one step closer to getting a grip on superconductivity at high temperatures.”

“Until now, physicists were going around in circles, so this discovery will help to drive new understanding,” he added.

Superconductors hold great promise for technological applications that will change how modern civilization can store and transmit energy.

Other notable applications include superconducting digital filters for high-speed communications, more efficient and reliable generators and motors, and superconducting device applications in medical magnetic resonance imaging machines. (ANI)

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