Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Binghamton physicist contributes to creation of first computer-designed superconductor

08.10.2013
A Binghamton University scientist and his international colleagues report this week on the successful synthesis of the first superconductor designed entirely on the computer. Their findings were published in Physical Review Letters, the leading journal in the field.

Aleksey Kolmogorov, assistant professor of physics at Binghamton, proposed the new superconductor in Physical Review Letters in 2010 and then teamed up with European experimentalists to test the prediction.

The synthesized material — a novel iron tetraboride compound — is made of two common elements, has a brand-new crystal structure and exhibits an unexpected type of superconductivity for a material that contains iron, just as predicted in the original computational study.

"Paradigm-shifting superconducting materials have so far been discovered experimentally, and oftentimes accidentally," Kolmogorov says.

Until now, theory has been used primarily to investigate superconducting mechanisms and, in rare cases, suggest ways that existing materials might be modified to become superconductors. But many proposed superconducting materials are not stable enough to form and those that do form are poor superconductors.

Superconductors, which conduct electric current without any resistance when cooled below a certain temperature, have many interesting applications. For instance, power lines made out of superconducting materials can significantly reduce the energy lost in transmission.

The phenomenon was discovered more than 100 years ago, with breakthroughs in the 1960s bringing superconductivity into practical application. The critical temperature, or Tc, for superconductors discovered to date is between 0 and 136 Kelvin (-460 and -214 degrees Fahrenheit). Scientists are still searching for materials that are superconductors at higher temperatures and can be mass-produced.

Several years ago, Kolmogorov, then at Oxford University, began studying boron-based materials, which have complex structures and a wide range of applications. He developed an automated computational tool to identify previously unknown stable crystal structures. His "evolutionary" algorithm emulates nature, meaning it favors more stable materials among thousands of possibilities.

The search revealed two promising compounds in a common iron-boron system, which came as a surprise. Moreover, a graduate student's calculations indicated that one of them should be a superconductor at an unusually high temperature of 15-20 Kelvin for the considered (so-called "conventional") type of superconductivity.

Months of double-checking confirmed the preliminary results on the stability and superconductivity of the compound. Still, the 2010 theoretical discovery was met with skepticism.

Natalia Dubrovinskaia and Leonid Dubrovinsky, professors at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, undertook a series of experiments and produced a very small quantity of iron tetraboride in the predicted crystal structure, leading to the latest article. Detailed measurements demonstrated the material's predicted superconducting property and, unexpectedly, its exceptional hardness.

"The discovery of this superhard superconductor demonstrates that new compounds can be brought into existence by revisiting seemingly well-studied systems," Kolmogorov says. Now that this material has been synthesized, it may be possible to modify it and raise the temperature at which it becomes a superconductor.

Ryan Yarosh | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.binghamton.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL
23.06.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

nachricht Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?
23.06.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>