A new look at high-temperature superconductors - MIT News Office | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

MIT researchers' new method for observing the motion of electron density waves in a superconducting material led to the detection of two different kinds of variations in those waves: amplitude (or intensity) changes and phase changes, shifting the relative positions of peaks and troughs of intensity. These new findings could make it easier to search for new kinds of higher-temperature superconductors.

 While the phenomenon of superconductivity — in which some materials lose all resistance to electric currents at extremely low temperatures — has been known for more than a century, the temperature at which it occurs has remained too low for any practical applications. The discovery of “high-temperature” superconductors in the 1980s — materials that could lose resistance at temperatures of up to negative 140 degrees Celsius — led to speculation that a surge of new discoveries might quickly lead to room-temperature superconductors. Despite intense research, these materials have remained poorly understood.

There is still no agreement on a single theory to account for high-temperature superconductivity. Recently, however, researchers at MIT and elsewhere have found a new way to study fluctuating charge-density waves, which are the basis for one of the leading theories. The researchers say this could open the door to a better understanding of high-temperature superconductivity, and perhaps prompt new discoveries of higher-temperature superconductors.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald