Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Laser pulses reveal the superconductors of the future

10.05.2017

Thanks to innovative laser techniques, a class of materials shows a new potential for energy efficiency. The research is published in Nature Physics

Another step forward towards superconductivity at room temperature: an experiment at the cutting edge of condensed matter physics and materials science has revealed that the dream of more efficient energy usage can turn into reality. An international collaboration, led by the scientists of Italy's International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste, Università Cattolica di Brescia and Politecnico di Milano used suitably tailored laser pulses to snap the electronic interactions in a compound containing copper, oxygen and bismuth.


Thanks to innovative laser techniques, a class of materials shows a new potential for energy efficiency.

Credit: Pixabay

They were thus able to identify the condition for which the electrons do not repel each other, that is an essential prerequisite for current to flow without resistance. This research opens new perspectives for the development of superconducting materials with applications in electronics, diagnostics and transport. The study has just been published in Nature Physics.

Using sophisticated laser techniques that make it possible to investigate the so-called non-equilibrium regime, the scientists found a very innovative way to understand the properties of a special class of materials. The SISSA team dealt with the theoretical aspects of the research while the I-LAMP labs of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Brescia) and Politecnico di Milano coordinated the experimental side.

"One of the greatest obstacles to exploit superconductivity in everyday technology is that the most promising superconductors tend to turn into insulators at high temperatures and for low doping concentrations", the scientists explained. "This is because the electrons tend to repel each other instead of pairing up and moving in the direction of the current flow".

To study this phenomenon, the researchers focused on a specific superconductor, which has highly complex physical and chemical properties, being composed of four different types of atom including copper and oxygen. "Using a laser pulse, we drove the material out of its equilibrium state. A second, ultra-short pulse then enabled us to disentangle the components that characterise the interaction between the electrons while the material was returning to equilibrium. Metaphorically, it was like taking a series of snapshots of the different properties of that material at different moments".

Through this approach, the scientists found that "in this material, the repulsion between the electrons, and therefore their insulating properties, disappears even at room temperature. It is a very interesting observation as this is the essential prerequisite for turning a material into a superconductor".

What is the next step in achieving this? "We will be able to take this material as a starting point and change its chemical composition, for example", the researchers explained. Having discovered that the prerequisites for producing a superconductor at room temperature exist, scientists now have new tools at their disposal for finding the correct recipe: by changing a few ingredients, they might not be too far away from the right formula.

Its applications? The magnetic field generated by passing a current through a superconductor could be used for a new generation of magnetic levitation trains - like the one that already links Shanghai to its airport - featuring far better performances and efficiency. In diagnostics, it would be possible to generate very large magnetic fields in extremely small spaces, thus making it possible to perform high-accuracy magnetic resonance imaging on a very small scale. In the field of energy transport or microelectronics, high-temperature superconductors would provide extremely high efficiency and, at the same time, considerable energy savings.

Media Contact

Donato Ramani
ramani@sissa.it
39-342-802-2237

http://www.sissa.it 

Donato Ramani | EurekAlert!

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Squeezing light at the nanoscale
17.06.2018 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

nachricht The Fraunhofer IAF is a »Landmark in the Land of Ideas«
15.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Festkörperphysik IAF

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: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

Im Focus: Water is not the same as water

Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A sprinkle of platinum nanoparticles onto graphene makes brain probes more sensitive

15.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

100 % Organic Farming in Bhutan – a Realistic Target?

15.06.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Perovskite-silicon solar cell research collaboration hits 25.2% efficiency

15.06.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>