The behavior of intermetallic superconductors, like the kind used in hospital MRI machines, is even more curious than recent Nobel Prize-winning physicist Alexei Abrikosov had theorized. In newly reported research,* scientists working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Center for Neutron Research have determined that so-called type II superconductors have the equivalent of a multiple personality---at least three distinct physical states, each with its own superconducting behavior. The result should help engineers design new materials for stronger, more efficient superconducting magnets.
Nearly 50 years ago, Abrikosov predicted that superconductors could retain superconductivity in a very strong magnetic field by forming tiny eddies of current. These vortices allow the field to pass through without disrupting the current, until a certain threshold is reached and the resistance-free flow of electrons ceases. Just before the collapse, however, the materials undergo a dramatic spike in current, called the peak effect.
Over a wide range of temperatures and magnetic field strengths, Brown University and NIST scientists tracked the movements of current eddies in a prototype type II superconductor, niobium. Their experiments yielded a phase diagram, a kind of a map that shows how current vortices rearrange in response to changes in temperature and magnetic field.
Mark Bello | EurekAlert!
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Soft robots have a distinct advantage over their rigid forebears: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber or other stretchable polymers, they are ideal for use in rehabilitation exoskeletons and robotic clothing. Soft bio-inspired robots could one day be deployed to explore remote or dangerous environments.
Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines' moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes,...
Researchers at TU Graz are working together with European partners on new possibilities of measuring vehicle emissions.
Today, air pollution is one of the biggest challenges facing European cities. As part of the Horizon 2020 research project CARES (City Air Remote Emission...
Over the next three years, researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, University of Cambridge, École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la ville de Paris (ESPCI-Paris) and Empa will be working together with the Dutch Polymer manufacturer SupraPolix on the next generation of robots: (soft) robots that ‘feel pain’ and heal themselves. The partners can count on 3 million Euro in support from the European Commission.
Soon robots will not only be found in factories and laboratories, but will be assisting us in our immediate environment. They will help us in the household, to...
Scientists at the University of Leeds have created a new form of gold which is just two atoms thick - the thinnest unsupported gold ever created.
The researchers measured the thickness of the gold to be 0.47 nanometres - that is one million times thinner than a human finger nail. The material is regarded...
An international team of scientists involving the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has unraveled the light-induced electron-localization dynamics in transition metals at the attosecond timescale. The team investigated for the first time the many-body electron dynamics in transition metals before thermalization sets in. Their work has now appeared in Nature Physics.
The researchers from ETH Zurich (Switzerland), the MPSD (Germany), the Center for Computational Sciences of University of Tsukuba (Japan) and the Center for...
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