Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Light work for superconductors

26.09.2019

Laser light compels iron compound to conduct power without resistance

For the first time researchers successfully used laser pulses to excite an iron-based compound into a superconducting state. This means it conducted electricity without resistance.


Visualizations of electron energies as the experiment ran.

Credit: © 2019 Suzuki et al.

The iron compound is a known superconductor at ultralow temperatures, but this method enables superconduction at higher temperatures. It is hoped this kind of research could greatly improve power efficiency in electrical equipment and electronic devices.

"Put simply, we demonstrated that under the right conditions, light can induce a state of superconductivity in an iron compound. So it has no resistance to an electric current," explained Project Researcher Takeshi Suzuki from the Institute for Solid State Physics at the University of Tokyo.

"In the past it may even have been called alchemy, but in reality we understand the physical processes that instantly changed a normal metal into a superconductor. These are exciting times for physics."

Superconduction is a hot topic in solid state physics, or rather a very, very cold one. As Suzuki explained, superconduction is when a material, frequently an electrical conductor, carries an electric current but does not add to the resistance of the circuit.

If this can be realized, it would mean devices and infrastructure based on such principles could be extremely power efficient. In other words, it could one day save you money on your electricity bill -- imagine that.

However, at present there is a catch as to why you don't already see superconductor-based televisions and vacuum cleaners in the stores. Materials such as iron selenide (FeSe) the researchers investigated only superconduct when they are far below the freezing point of water.

In fact, at ambient-pressure FeSe usually superconducts at around 10 degrees above absolute zero, or around minus 263 degrees Celsius, scarcely warmer than the cold, dark depths of space.

There is a way to coax FeSe into superconduction at slightly less forbidding temperatures of up to around minus 223 degrees Celsius, but this requires enormous pressures to be applied to the sample, around six gigapascals or 59,000 times standard atmosphere at sea level.

That would prove impractical for the implementation of superconduction into useful devices. This then presents a challenge to physicists, albeit one that serves to motivate them as they strive to one day be the first to present a room-temperature superconductor to the world.

"Every material in our daily lives has its own character. Foam is soft, rubber is flexible, glass is transparent and a superconductor has a unique trait that current can flow smoothly with no resistance.

This is a character we would all like to meet," said graduate student Mari Watanabe, also from the Institute for Solid State Physics. "With a high-energy, ultrafast laser, we successfully observed an emergent photo-excited phenomenon - superconduction - at the warmer temperature of minus 258 degrees Celsius, which would ordinarily require high pressures or other impractical compromises."

This research is the latest in a long line of steps from the discovery of superconduction to the long-awaited day when a room-temperature superconductor may become possible. And as with many emerging fields of study within physics, there may be applications that have not yet been envisaged. One possible use of this idea of photo-excitation is to achieve high-speed switching components for computation which would also produce little heat, thus maximize efficiency.

"Next, we will search for more favorable conditions for light-induced superconductivity by using a different kind of light, and eventually achieve room-temperature superconductivity," concluded Suzuki. "Superconductivity can dramatically reduce waste heat and energy if it can be used in everyday life at room temperature. We are keen to study superconductivity in order to solve the energy problem, which is one of the most serious problems in the world right now."

###

Journal article

Takeshi Suzuki, Takashi Someya, Takahiro Hashimoto, Shoya Michimae, Mari Watanabe, Masami Fujisawa, Teruto Kanai, Nobuhisa Ishii, Jiro Itatani, Shigeru Kasahara, Yuji Matsuda, Takasada Shibauchi, Kozo Okazaki, and Shik Shin. Photoinduced possible superconducting state with long-lived disproportionate band filling in FeSe. Communications Physics. DOI: 10.1038/s42005-019-0219-4

This research is supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) grant numbers JP18K13498, JP19H00659, JP19H01818, JP19H00651, JP19H05824 and JP19H05826, and by Quantum Leap Flagship Program (Q-LEAP) grant number JPMXS0118068681 from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT).

Institute for Solid State Physics http://www.issp.u-tokyo.ac.jp/index_en.html

Research Contact

Project Researcher Takeshi Suzuki
Institute for Solid State Physics, The University of Tokyo
5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8581 JAPAN
Tel: +81-4-7136-3507
Email: takeshi.suzuki@issp.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Press Contacts

Ms. Madoka Mochida
Institute for Solid State Physics, The University of Tokyo
5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8581 JAPAN
Email: press@issp.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Mr. Rohan Mehra
Division for Strategic Public Relations, The University of Tokyo
7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8654, JAPAN
Tel: +81-3-5841-0876
Email: press-releases.adm@gs.mail.u-tokyo.ac.jp

About the University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo is Japan's leading university and one of the world's top research universities. The vast research output of some 6,000 researchers is published in the world's top journals across the arts and sciences. Our vibrant student body of around 15,000 undergraduate and 15,000 graduate students includes over 4,000 international students. Find out more at https://www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/en/ or follow us on Twitter at @UTokyo_News_en.

Takeshi Suzuki | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42005-019-0219-4

Further reports about: Superconductors electricity iron compound superconductivity

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Anode material for safe batteries with a long cycle life
06.08.2020 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)

nachricht ETRI develops eco-friendly color thin-film solar cells
31.07.2020 | National Research Council of Science & Technology

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: ScanCut project completed: laser cutting enables more intricate plug connector designs

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.

Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...

Im Focus: New Strategy Against Osteoporosis

An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.

Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...

Im Focus: AI & single-cell genomics

New software predicts cell fate

Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...

Im Focus: TU Graz Researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications

“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.

Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...

Im Focus: Tailored light inspired by nature

An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.

Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2020”: The final touches for surfaces

23.07.2020 | Event News

Conference radar for cybersecurity

21.07.2020 | Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rare Earth Elements in Norwegian Fjords?

06.08.2020 | Earth Sciences

Anode material for safe batteries with a long cycle life

06.08.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Turning carbon dioxide into liquid fuel

06.08.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>