Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered an interesting type of electronic behavior in a recently discovered class of superconductors known as cobalt oxides, or cobaltates. These materials operate quite differently from other oxide superconductors, namely the copper oxides (or cuprates), which are commonly referred to as high-temperature superconductors.
When traditional superconductors are cooled to nearly absolute zero (0 Kelvin or –452 degrees Fahrenheit), pairs of negatively charged electrons exchange packets of vibrational energy known as phonons. This mechanism overcomes the repulsion of the like-charged particles and allows them to move together to carry electrical current with virtually no resistance. But the mechanism for superconductivity in the high-temperature cuprates — which act as superconductors at temperatures as “warm” as 138 K — is still one of the “hottest” mysteries in condensed matter physics. Above the superconducting transition temperature the cuprates do not exhibit normal electronlike behavior, so it’s unclear either how or what is pairing to carry the current.
With the discovery of a new class of oxide superconductors, the cobaltates (which become superconducting at a temperature around 5 K), scientists were naturally curious whether they could learn something about their mechanism to shed light upon this problem. “What we’ve found,” says Brookhaven physicist Peter Johnson, “has opened up another twist.”
Karen McNulty Walsh | BNL
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Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
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Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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