Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Neutron probe yields break in superconductor mystery

Call it a break in the case of "hidden order and the unconventional superconductor." Writing in the journal Nature Physics,* U.S. and Canadian researchers report a major step toward solving a two-decades-old materials science mystery and progress toward the ultimate goal of engineering materials optimized for magnetic and electric properties.

The advance is the result of investigative work done at the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Center for Neutron Research (NCNR), and at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL) at Florida State University (FSU).

Stray magnetic fields suppress superconductivity, the resistance-free passage of electric current. But the object of the team's scrutiny—a uranium-ruthenium-silicon compound (URu2Si2)—somehow accommodates the normal adversity between magnetism and superconductivity. At 17.5 degrees above absolute zero, once-nomadic electrons that had roamed freely about the compound's lattice-like atomic structure—and generated their own magnetic fields—behave in a more orderly and cooperative fashion. This coherence sets the stage for superconductivity.

URu2Si2 belongs to a class of materials called heavy fermions, known to be reluctant superconductors. This is because current-carrying electrons in the intermetallic material interact with surrounding particles and truly gain from the experience. The association adds mass—making the electrons behave as though they were a few hundred times more massive than "normal." The heavy electrons once were thought to make superconductivity impossible.

However, numerous heavy fermion superconductors now are known, and URu2Si2 ranks among the most curious of the lot.

Unexplained was how a "hidden order" suddenly arose in the wake of the magnetic instabilities caused by the roving electrons, each one spinning and producing its own miniature magnetic field. With neutron probes, researchers managed to track electron movements and determined that the wandering particles work out an unexpected accommodation in the spacing of their energy levels.

Mark Bello | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

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: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>