Experimental results could point the way to fabricating room temperature superconductors and solving a major mystery in physics
A 1996 theory by UCR’s Chandra Varma notes that in copper oxide materials superconductivity is associated with the formation of a new state of matter in which electric current loops form spontaneously, going from copper to oxygen atoms and back to copper. Recently, a French-German team of experimental scientists directly observed the current loops. Credit: C. Varma
A French-German team of experimental scientists, led by Philippe Bourges of the Commissariat à lEnergie Atomique, France, reports that it has verified the central prediction of a theory on high-temperature superconductivity developed by Chandra Varma, distinguished professor of physics at UC Riverside. The verification ultimately could assist in the fabrication of materials that are superconducting at room temperature and help settle a contentious, international debate on the fundamental physics of superconductivity and emergent states of matter.
Varmas initial theory, which he proposed in 1989 when he was at Bell Laboratories, stated the radical idea that high temperature superconductivity and related phenomena occur in certain materials because quantum-mechanical fluctuations in these materials increase as temperature decreases. Usually such fluctuations, which determine the properties of all matter in the universe, decrease as temperature decreases.
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