An international research team has discovered that a magnetic field can interact with the electrons in a superconductor in ways never before observed. Andrea D. Bianchi, the lead researcher from the Université de Montréal, explains in the January 11 edition of Science magazine what he discovered in an exceptional 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.
“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,” said Prof. Bianchi, who was recruited to UdeM as a Canada Research Chair in Novel Materials for Spintronics last fall and performed his experiments at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland, in collaboration with scientists from ETH Zurich, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Birmingham, U.K., the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Magnetic tornado that grows stronger
Using the Swiss Spallation Neutron Source (SINQ), Prof. 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 and, for which Abrikosov and Ginzburg received the Nobel Prize in 2003, which does not generally apply in magnetically-induced superconductors.
“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 Prof. Bianchi. “The beauty of this compound is how we can experiment without breaking it.”
Superconductors hold great promise for technological applications that will change how modern civilization can store and transmit energy - arguably some of the most pressing challenges today. 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. The first superconductor was discovered nearly a hundred years ago, and in most materials this curious state with no resistance was shown to arise from the interaction of the electrons with the crystal; however, in this new material, superconductivity is thought to arise from magnetic interactions between electrons.
Andrea Bianchi | EurekAlert!
Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects
15.12.2017 | Cornell University
Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake
12.12.2017 | Duke University
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences