DailyDirt: Closer To Understanding Superconductivity
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
The phenomenon of superconductivity could be extremely useful — if the materials that exhibit the behavior could do so at ambient conditions. The first material discovered to conduct electricity with no resistance was mercury in 1911, but mercury requires temperatures below 10 °K to do this. In 1986, a high temperature superconductor was found that seemed to work around liquid nitrogen temperatures. We’ve made some progress pushing the limits of the superconductors we’ve made so far, and it looks like we may be on the cusp of a much better understanding these materials and how they work. Here are just a few links on the matter.
- Superconductivity at room temperature has been an unattainable goal for decades (or almost a century), until recently. Using short infrared laser pulses, a ceramic material was made superconducting at room temperature… for only a few picoseconds. [url]
- Over 60,000 papers have been published on so-called high temperature superconductors since 1986, but the phenomenon is not well understood at all. The “high temperatures” above -237 °C are still pretty chilly, but it’s been hard to find examples of different superconductors that could help elucidate the mechanism. Researchers have recently discovered a new class of superconducting material, but we’re still a long way from really understanding what’s going on. [url]
- Physicists are starting to come up with better explanations for superconductivity and how it occurs. There doesn’t seem to be any good reasons why superconductivity can’t persist at room temperatures, but there may very well be practical barriers that we just haven’t found yet. [url]
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