Scientists uncover secrets behind high temperature superconductors

February 23rd, 2009 - 6:20 pm ICT by ANI  

Large Hadron Collider

London, Feb 23 (ANI): Unravelling the secret behind high temperature superconductors, scientists have revealed that magnetism has a major role to play in the mechanism behind high temperature superconductivity.

Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) have detailed their findings on a new high temperature superconductor, the so-called oxypnictides.

Dr Alan Drew from Queen Mary’’s Department of Physics and his colleagues at the University of Fribourg report have found that in both oxypnictides and the previously known copper-oxide high temperature superconductors, superconductivity emerges from a magnetic state.

The findings could help explain the mechanisms behind high temperature superconductors.

Superconductors are materials that can conduct electricity with no resistance, but only at low temperatures. But in 1986 High temperature superconductors were first discovered in copper-oxides, which increased the operational temperature of superconductors by more than 100 to 130 degree Celsius and paved the way for a wide variety of applications.

However, till date, researchers failed to disclose the mystery behind the complex fundamental physics behind these high temperature superconductors.

“Last year, a new class of high-temperature superconductor was discovered that has a completely different make-up to the ones previously known - containing layers of Arsenic and Iron instead of layers of Copper and Oxygen, Nature magazine quoted Drew as saying.

He added: Our hope is that by studying them both together, we may be able to resolve the underlying physics behind both types of superconductor and design new superconducting materials, which may eventually lead to even higher temperature superconductors.”

Professor Bernhard, of the University of Fribourg, added: “Despite the mysteries of high-temperature superconductivity, their applications are wide-ranging. One exciting applications is using superconducting wire to provide lossless power transmission from power stations to cities. Superconducting wire can hold a much higher current density than existing copper wire and is lossless and therefore energy saving.”

They said that an electrical current flowing round a loop of superconducting wire can also continue indefinitely, and may result in the production of some of the most powerful electromagnets known to man.

The magnets find their use in MRI scanners, to ”float” the MagLev train, and to steer the proton beam of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN.

In fact, researchers hope to extend future applications of superconductors to ultrafast electronic devices and in quantum computing.

The study has been published in the journal Nature Materials. (ANI)

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