X-ray Laser Experiment Provides First Look at Changes in Atomic Structure that Support Superconductivity
An experiment at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory provided the first fleeting glimpse of the atomic structure of a material as it entered a state resembling room-temperature superconductivity – a long-sought phenomenon in which materials might conduct electricity with 100 percent efficiency under everyday conditions.
Researchers used a specific wavelength of laser light to rattle the atomic structure of a material called yttrium barium copper oxide, or YBCO. Then they probed the resulting changes in the structure with an X-ray laser beam from the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), a DOE Office of Science User Facility.
They discovered that the initial exposure to laser light triggered specific shifts in copper and oxygen atoms that squeezed and stretched the distances between them, creating a temporary alignment that exhibited signs of superconductivity for a few trillionths of a second at well above room temperature – up to 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit). The scientists coupled data from the experiment with theory to show how these changes in atomic positions allow a transfer of electrons that drives the superconductivity.
New Views of Atoms in Motion
“This is a highly interesting state, even though it only exists for a short period of time,” said Roman Mankowsky of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, who was lead author of a report on the experiment in the Dec. 4 print issue of Nature. “When the laser excites the material, it shifts the atoms and changes the structure. We hope these results will ultimately help in the design of new materials to enhance superconductivity.”
Sustaining such a state at room temperature would revolutionize many fields, making the electrical grid more efficient and enabling more powerful and compact computers. Traditional superconductors operate only at temperatures close to absolute zero. YBCO is one of a handful of materials discovered since 1986 that superconduct at somewhat higher temperatures; but they still have to be chilled to at least minus 135 degrees Celsius in order to sustain superconductivity, and scientists still don’t know what allows these so-called high-temperature superconductors to carry electricity with zero resistance.
A Powerful Tool for Exploring Superconductivity
Josh Turner, a SLAC staff scientist who has led other studies of YBCO at the LCLS, said powerful tools such as X-ray lasers have excited new interest in superconductor research by allowing researchers to isolate a specific property that they want to learn more about. This is important because high-temperature superconductors can exhibit a tangle of magnetic, electronic and structural properties that may compete or cooperate as the material moves toward a superconducting state. For example, another recently published LCLS study found that exciting YBCO with the same optical laser light disrupts an electronic order that competes with superconductivity.
The Latest on: High-temperature Superconductivity
via Google News
The Latest on: High-temperature Superconductivity
- Superconductors: Unraveling the stripe order mysteryon August 18, 2019 at 7:36 am
"If they are dynamic -- if they fluctuate -- then there are ways in which the holes could aid high-temperature superconductivity." Probing the fluctuations in LBCO To understand what exactly the ...
- For superconductors, discovery comes from disorderon August 16, 2019 at 6:41 am
The materials that are potential high-temperature superconductors are not simple elements, but are complex compounds containing many elements. It turns out that, besides superconductivity ...
- Researchers move forward in explaining atomic causes of high temperature superconductivityon August 15, 2019 at 5:39 am
During the last five years, few scientists have successfully employed very high pressures in order to produce metal hydrides, rich in hydrogen, which become superconductive around -20 degrees Celsius.
- J. Robert Schrieffer, 88, Nobel Winner Inspired on the Subway, Dieson August 6, 2019 at 4:19 pm
The B.C.S. theory of superconductivity turned out not to be a universal ... to no avail: The mystery of high-temperature superconductors remains unsolved. In addition to his daughter Regina, Dr.
- John Robert Schrieffer, Nobel Prize winner, former MagLab scientist, dies at 88on July 29, 2019 at 2:45 pm
(Photo: Special to the Democrat) His research at FSU focused on magnetism in condensed matter and high temperature superconductivity. He retired in 2006. “We will miss him but find comfort knowing he ...
- Superconductivity signatures seen in trilayer grapheneon July 18, 2019 at 11:51 pm
A trilayer graphene (TLG) and hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) moiré superlattice could be the ideal platform in which to study strong correlated physics and so find signatures of high-temperature ...
- Trilayer graphene shows signs of superconductivityon July 17, 2019 at 10:21 am
Still, Goldhaber-Gordon notes that the apparent superconductivity from the three extra electrons is similar to what is seen in conventional high-temperature superconductors, the copper-based materials ...
- Coming Soon: Cold Atoms Impersonate Superconductorson July 8, 2019 at 9:06 am
Researchers say they are close to simulating high-temperature superconductivity using a lattice of ultracold atoms, a step toward explaining this perfectly conducting state. Ultracold atoms arranged ...
- To Create a High-temperature Superconductor, Try These Materialson June 2, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Using data science, Northwestern Engineering researchers have identified 14 compounds that could potentially be good candidates for high-temperature superconductivity. They used a database of more ...
- New superconductivity record edges closer to room temperatureon May 26, 2019 at 11:55 pm
But now researchers at Max Planck have reported a new record high temperature for superconductivity, at a toasty -23° C (-9.4° F). Normally, when electrons are flowing through a conductor their ...
via Bing News