Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Path to Loss-Free Electricity

24.04.2015

Atomic-scale details of electron distribution reveal a novel mechanism for current to flow without energy loss.

The Science


Image courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory

Electron density distribution (indicated by both the blue and red, as areas of deficiency and excess of electrons, respectively) in barium iron arsenide for undoped/nonsuperconducting and doped/superconducting alloys. There is a remarkable increase in charge distribution around iron (Fe) and arsenic (As) atoms in the superconducting material.

Newswise — Electric current flows without any resistance in a superconducting state thanks to a surprising redistribution of bonding electrons and the associated electronic and atomic behavior after substitution of some cobalt atoms for iron in barium iron arsenide.

The Impact

This discovery of substitution-induced charge redistribution demonstrates the prominent role of bonding (and the associated electron fluctuations) in the emergence of superconductivity in iron-based alloys. It suggests a new route for finding higher performance superconductors through engineering and optimization of the electron density among the atoms in the material.

Summary

The flow of current in ordinary metals and other materials that conduct electricity is composed of electrons; however, the charge carriers are scattered when they conduct electricity, resulting in dissipation and energy loss, typically in the form of heat.

In a superconductor, the electrons form into pairs that allow them to move through the material without resistance, eliminating the energy lost and thus increasing the efficient use of electricity. The challenge in creating such electron pairs is overcoming the natural tendency for electrons to repel each other. One solution is to utilize electronic polarizability that can yield an attractive interaction between electrons, thus allowing pair formation and the potential for loss-free current flow.

Such a mechanism was proposed almost five decades ago, but it was never experimentally verified. Using electron diffraction with subatomic precision, scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have mapped out the redistribution of orbital electrons in barium iron arsenide, with and without cobalt substitution. The results reveal a remarkable increase in charge distribution around the iron and arsenic atoms as cobalt is incorporated into the material.

Electron energy loss spectroscopy was carried out to determine the charge carrier-injection effect of cobalt substitution, while density functional theory was used to model electronic and atomic behavior. The induced charge redistribution around the iron and arsenic atoms after cobalt substitution suggests that the strongly coupled bond-electron fluctuation and charge separation may provide a new mechanism for high-temperature superconductivity. These results may guide the design of new superconductors.

Funding

DOE Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences provided primary support for the research at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The Chinese National Science Foundation supported the sample synthesis at the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Publication

C. Ma, L. Wu, W.G. Yin, H. Yang, H. Shi, Z. Wang, J. Li, C. C. Homes, Y. Zhu, “Strong coupling of the iron-quadrupole and anion-dipole polarizations in Ba(Fe1−xCox)2As2.” Physical Review Letters 112, 077001 (2014). [DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.077001]

Contact Information
Kristin Manke
kristin.manke@science.doe.gov

Kristin Manke | newswise
Further information:
http://www.science.doe.gov

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Scientists create biodegradable, paper-based biobatteries
08.08.2018 | Binghamton University

nachricht Ricocheting radio waves monitor the tiniest movements in a room
07.08.2018 | Duke University

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: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>