Writing in the July 6, 2006, issue of Nature, scientists working at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) in collaboration with physicists from the University of Tennessee (UT) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) report strong evidence that magnetic fluctuations are key to a universal mechanism for pairing electrons and enabling resistance-free passage of electric current in high-temperature superconductors.
An important missing piece in the puzzle of high-temperature superconductivity, the finding should boost efforts to develop a variety of useful technologies now considered impractical for conventional superconductors, which work at markedly lower temperatures. Examples include loss-free systems for storing and distributing electric energy, superconducting digital routers for high-speed communications, and more efficient generators and motors.
The team was led by Pengcheng Dai, a UT-ORNL joint professor.
"Our results unify understanding of the role of magnetism in high-temperature superconductivity and move the research community one step closer to understanding the underlying pairing mechanism itself," says NIST physicist Jeffrey Lynn, a member of the collaboration. Better understanding of the mechanism of high-temperature superconductivity may lead to the discovery of new materials in which electrical resistance vanishes at even warmer temperatures.
Objects of intense scientific and technological interest since their discovery in 1986, high-temperature superconductors work their magic in ways different than materials that become superconducting at significantly colder temperatures, as first observed in 1911. In these conventional superconductors, vibrations in the materials' atomic latticework mediate the pairing process that results in the unimpeded flow of electrons.
Scientists have ruled out vibrations, or phonons, as the likely electron matchmaker in high-temperature superconducting compounds. And while they have assembled important clues over the last two decades, researchers have yet to pin down the electron-pairing mechanism in the high-temperature superconductors.
"Various experiments and theories have suggested that this resonance--this sharp magnetic excitation--may be the glue needed to explain high-temperature superconductivity, but key pieces of evidence were missing," explains lead author Stephen Wilson, a UT graduate student.
Previous work by other researchers had determined that magnetism played a role in one of two major classes of high-temperature superconductors--those engineered with holes, or occasional vacancies where electrons normally would reside. But, until this work, carried out at NCNR and ORNL's High Flux Isotope Reactor, the underlying pairing mechanism in the other class--materials doped with an excess of electrons--eluded detection.
Using neutron probes, which are extremely sensitive to magnetism, the team was the first to observe a magnetic resonance in an electron-doped high-temperature superconductor, in a carefully engineered compound known as PLCCO. More importantly, the resonance energy was found to obey a well-established relationship universal to high-temperature superconductors, irrespective of type.
This demonstrated a fundamental link between magnetism and the superconducting phase, the researchers report. These observations and findings should open new avenues of research into the exotic properties of high-temperature superconductors, they write.
Mark Bello | EurekAlert!
Organic-inorganic heterostructures with programmable electronic properties
29.03.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden
Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics
23.03.2017 | North Carolina State University
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences