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Superconductivity - Things are heating up!

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posted on Jul, 13 2008 @ 10:22 PM

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have for the first time identified a key component to unravelling the mystery of room temperature superconductivity, according to a paper published in the journal Nature.


"We have successfully unearthed for the first time in a high temperature superconductor the location in the electronic structure where 'pockets' of doped hole carriers aggregate. Our experiments have thus made an important advance toward understanding how superconducting pairs form out of these hole pockets."

It seems like large steps are being taken in this field which is good news for technological advancement and energy efficiency which humanity will be needing as much as it can get in the coming years. I also found this blog about numerous preprints on iron - arsenide based super conductors. It seems that a number of separate researchers are making progress.

And here is another description of how this new discovery in the magnetic order of superconductors has potentially illuminated the secrets behind it.

Magnetic fields penetrate the superconducting state in an array of vortices where superconductivity is locally destroyed, providing a novel kind of microscopic lens. The vortex cores give us a glimpse into the competing states formed where superconductivity is destroyed, comprising the same copper spins involved in superconductivity. Recent quantum oscillation experiments indicate that this competing order manifests itself as long range order in very strong magnetic fields as vortices become tightly packed. Inter-vortex tunnelling of both electrons (red) and holes (cyan) facilitate their motion in cyclotron orbits, just like in normal metals. While prior diffraction experiments have identified magnetism as a potential contender for competing order in the vortex cores, cyclotron orbit sizes measured by the current experiments indicate a possible modulated form of magnetism, depicted in the figure.

And finally to wrap this up are indicating that they have supercondutor news coming soon that works at dry ice temperatures which is 195°K, a huge increase on current super conductors. Lets hope it is backed with real facts!

posted on Jul, 13 2008 @ 11:17 PM
Several recent articles on superconductivity.

Remember the thread of the strange patient here

Johns Hopkins

And this blog

From the Cambridge article:

We have successfully unearthed for the first time in a high temperature superconductor the location in the electronic structure where 'pockets' of doped hole carriers aggregate.

I would ask what she is considering a high temperature superconductor. But this certainly moves the science forward if true. And it will be interesting to see the next results involving the correlation between magnetism and superconductivity.

posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 12:44 AM
As someone with an electrical engineering degree, I'd LOVE to see better superconductors. They'd make for some really interesting design solutions. Hopefully some real progress comes out of this research. Good find!

posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 02:01 AM
reply to post by garyo1954

That story of the strange patient in the ER is what first set me off on this topic and I have been watching for developments since then. It seems that a lot of the recent developments have not been at John Hopkins though.

posted on Jul, 27 2008 @ 10:29 PM
Researchers are taking a new tack to try and understand this magnetic component to superconductors. They are starting to make them with Actinides (heavy metals like neptunium and plutonium).

Though the “heavy electron superconductors” do not superconduct at as high a temperature as copper and iron based materials do, they have a few properties which may make them desirable as observation materials. First, these heavy electron superconductors have active electrons in higher orbitals than traditional high-temperature materials. Because these crucial electrons are in the f-orbitals of heavy electron superconductors, as opposed to the d-orbitals of copper/iron superconductors, it may be easier to study and understand their interactions.


posted on Jul, 27 2008 @ 11:03 PM
The article seemed to suggest that if you could assemble the atoms one by one, with a nano assembler, you could build room temperature superconductors. I get this from the reference to broken an unbroken hole flow channels. If all the channels were unbroken, I assume you have superconductivity. What would be required would be the proper 3D Matrix of doping materials in the proper matrix of the conductor.

posted on Aug, 14 2008 @ 09:29 PM
New Scientist have published a new analysis of the iron super conductors and their impact. It is a good read but needs a new scientist subscription to read it online.

That's why the discovery earlier this year of an entirely new class of superconducting materials has sent scientists into a frenzy of activity. Although these new superconductors don't break any temperature records just yet, they are breaking all the known rules of superconductivity because they are made from iron. Even better, they offer the tantalising possibility that a little tinkering could raise their operating temperatures, perhaps to as high as room temperature. They could even help us crack one of the deepest mysteries in physics by explaining how all superconductors work.

When the temperature reached 150 K, the researchers noticed that the shape of the lattice became distorted. As the temperature continued to drop, something interesting happened around 134 K. Instead of all pointing in one direction, the electron spins on neighbouring atoms lined up in opposite directions - a phenomenon called antiferromagnetism.

Next, the team repeated the experiment using a sample doped with fluorine atoms. The extra electrons provided by the fluorine changed the profile completely. Gone were both the lattice distortion and the antiferromagnetic order; instead the doped sample lost all its resistance. Astonishingly, this pattern was similar to what happens in high-temperature copper oxide superconductors.

posted on Aug, 29 2008 @ 07:55 PM
A new article has been posted here which seems to have found some new aspects to superconductivity.

The puzzling phenomena, which the scientists solved, was that in normal superconductors raising the binding energy, to hold these pairs together raises the critical temperature closer to room temperature. However, in cuprate superconductors, which have higher starting temperatures, raising the binding energy actually lowers the Tc, the opposite of the desired result.

Researchers determined that this is due to a "quantum traffic jam" effect. Normally cuprates are stuck in a jammed stated known as the Mott insulating state, named after the late Sir Neville Mott of Cambridge, UK. To create cuprate superconductors, electrons are removed from cuprates, leaving holes. Cooper pairs can then start to flow into these holes, allowing for superconduction, akin to a couple cars exiting the highway during rush hour starting traffic moving.

However, the critical discovery the researchers made was that increasing the binding energy also increased the "Mottness" of cuprate superconductors. Thus, raising the temperature only made the traffic jam worse, lowering the critical temperature. Seamus Davis of Brookhaven National Laboratory and Cornell University, lead author on the paper describes, "It has been a frustrating and embarrassing problem to explain why this is the case."

posted on Sep, 4 2008 @ 09:27 PM
The most powerful magnetever at 100 Tesla is currently being built in Florida.

The super-powerful magnet will be used to "test the properties of newly discovered high-temperature superconductors like iron oxyarsenide, which may improve the performance of MRI machines and high-voltage power lines while lowering their cost."

Interesting that progress on this field is moving so fast.

posted on Sep, 6 2008 @ 07:44 PM
Fabrication of iron-based superconducting wires

Via the conventional powder-in-tube method, a research team led by MA Yanwei with the CAS Institute of Electrical Engineering has been successful in fabricating LaO0.9F0.1FeAs wires with the superconducting critical transition temperature (Tc) of about 25K. The wire, first of its kind in the world, is of importance for possible practical applications, according to experts. The work was published in a recent issue of Superconductor Science and Technology after having filed for a patent right.

Looks like the first real practical gains from this new class of superconductors. This could never have been done with the old cuprates and is starting to open up a whole new world of superconductivity

posted on Sep, 14 2008 @ 05:24 PM
Interesting... the plot thickens!

Since 1911, several families of superconductors have been discovered; each challenged our understanding of the intriguing physics. In 2008, a family of new Fe superconductors of RFeAsO1-xFx, (Ba-K)Fe2As2, and others has been discovered that contain the puckered FeAs planes instead of the hallmark CuO2 planes in the cuprate superconductors. Central to any superconductor is the nature of the superconducting gap, its value, its structure if any, and its temperature dependence. We used Andreev reflection spectroscopy to investigate the gap of these new Fe superconductors, and compared with those measured by other techniques. The relevant physics in the Fe superconductors appears to be not electron-phonon interaction as in conventional low-TC superconductors, nor Mott physics as in high-TC cuprates.


This is very recent and it is the first info I have heard coming from John Hopkins that started this thread. Earlier you will have seen reference to the mottness being a possible hold back of super conductivity in the Iron family of super conductors. According to Chien this is not the limiting effect an they aren't sure what it is.

Going to be watching this bloke especially!

posted on Sep, 14 2008 @ 10:21 PM
Superconductivity Can Induce Magnetism

When an electrical current passes through a wire it emanates heat – a principle that's found in toasters and incandescent light bulbs. Some materials, at low temperatures, violate this law and carry current without any heat loss. But this seemingly trivial property, superconductivity, is now at the forefront of our understanding of physics.

In the journal Science, Andrea Bianchi, a professor in the Department of Physics at the Université de Montréal, and his colleagues show that, contrary to previous belief, superconductivity can induce magnetism, which has raised a new quantum conundrum.

In the experiment reported in Science, the scientists cooled a single crystal of CeCoIn5, a metal compound consisting of cerium, cobalt and indium, to a temperature of minus 273.1 degrees, close to absolute zero. To their great surprise, they discovered that magnetism and superconductivity coexist and disappear at the same time when they heat the sample or increase the magnetic field.

This discovery is extraordinary, since magnetic order exists exclusively when this sample is in the superconducting state. In this unique case, magnetism and superconductivity do not compete with each other. Instead, superconductivity generates magnetic order.

Getting closer by the day I tells you! This is a stunning discovery and shows just how little we know about this field.

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 07:04 PM
Atomic-scale structure of the 'pseudogap' revealed in high-temperature superconductors

Cornell researchers and colleagues have produced the first atomic-scale description of what electrons are doing in the mysterious "pseudogap" in high-temperature superconductors.

This really helps in the understanding of the way these pairs are working by being able to actually see the activity in the electrons during superconducting. Hopefully we start seeing some meaningful gains in superconductors soon with all this new information!

Breaking the locked-in pairs required more energy than to break moving pairs. In theory, the more tightly bound the electron pairs are, the more they resist being pulled apart as the temperature rises. But it's a catch-22, Davis said. "When there are few holes, allowing the pairs to be tightly bound, the pairs are not free to move around, and when there are plenty of holes, allowing them to move around, they are too weakly bound to survive higher temperatures."

So to make higher-temperature superconductors, he proposes, requires creating a material where strong pairing occurs, but without the "traffic jam" created by a shortage of holes.


posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 07:41 PM
Would this allow to continue the Law of Morris in the development of the processors?

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 07:47 PM
It would certainly help as superconductors would remove a lot of the heat load from processor's although their problems also arise from other quantum forces such as casimir's when things get too small.

Quantum computers will allow Moore's law to continue though, and in the near future likely advances from 3D processors would produce significant gains.

posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 05:51 PM
This is a enw take on the superconductivity:

Scientists Engineer Superconducting Thin Films

In the October 9, 2008, issue of Nature, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory report that they have successfully produced two-layer thin films where neither layer is superconducting on its own, but which exhibit a nanometer-thick region of superconductivity at their interface. Furthermore, they demonstrate the ability to elevate the temperature of superconductivity at this interface to temperatures exceeding 50 kelvin (-370°F), a relatively high temperature deemed more practical for real-world devices.

Intrgiuign the ability to meld two materials to create a superconducting effect between them. With all ther ecent progress listed above they are working out the eral world mechanisms and limitations slowly but surely. Once they have it figured out and with nanotech going the way it is we should be able to engineer superconducting materials.

posted on Oct, 12 2008 @ 08:53 PM
The latest development appears to be from the US DoE's Ames Labratory that has created an instrument - the ARCS - to measure both the vibrations of individual neuclei and the magnetic spins of electrons. Both of these effects are two prevailing theories that lead to superconductivity.

New instrument puts new spin on superconductors: Ames Lab researchers team up to probe iron-arsenic superconductors

"The preliminary results are amazing," McQueeney said. "I have experience with a similar instrument and ARCS blew it away," adding that it produces better results from smaller samples in a much shorter time frame.

posted on Nov, 13 2008 @ 06:46 PM
Iron-based Materials May Unlock Superconductivity's Secrets

The iron-based material's behavior under pressure may suggest the remarkable possibility of an entirely different mechanism behind superconductivity than with copper oxide materials, NIST Fellow Jeffrey Lynn said. Or it could be that magnetism is simply an ancillary part of HTc superconductivity in general, he said—and that a similar, deeper mechanism underlies the superconductivity in both. Understanding the origin of the superconductivity will help engineers tailor materials to specific applications, guide materials scientists in the search for new materials with improved properties and, scientists hope, usher in higher-temperature superconductors.

The ramifications of this discovery are profound. If the superconductivity comes down to physical changes in the lattice structure of the conductor, it means we may know what structures we need to achieve to enable superconductivity. With material science and nano technology progressing like it is, surely it is only a matter of time until we can engineer the lattice structure needed for superconductivity and keep it stable at room temperature.

What a big year for this research!

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 06:18 PM
Disappearing Superconductivity Reappears -- In 2-D

Scientists studying a material that appeared to lose its ability to carry current with no resistance say new measurements reveal that the material is indeed a superconductor — but only in two dimensions. Equally surprising, this new form of 2-D superconductivity emerges at a higher temperature than ordinary 3-D superconductivity in other compositions of the same material.

Ever since they started breaking down previous theories on supconductivity they have been discovering a myriad of heretofore unseen effects.

In this article basically when they mixed the barium and copper ina specific ratio the magnetism of the material changed and formed a striping effect. and drastically reduced the normal superconductivity. They did find that it actually improved it's superconductivity in 2D planes.

As they learn more and more about superconductivity it is becoming obvious that the structure of the material and alignment of the magnetic fields play an intricate web in coaxing electrons into their superconductive tango. I hope unravelling this will actually lead to room temperature superconductors.

posted on Jan, 9 2009 @ 04:45 PM
Scientists prove unconventional superconductivity in new iron arsenide compounds

Scientists at U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory used inelastic neutron scattering to show that superconductivity in a new family of iron arsenide superconductors cannot be explained by conventional theories.

New physics is edging closer every day. Nearly a year since these superconductors were made scientists still haven't figured out what makes these new compounds super conduct.

Personally I suspect the answer to this question will also lead to the understanding of many principles in quantum physics.


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