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In a superconductor, everything happens at once | Cornell Chronicle

In a superconductor, everything happens at once | Cornell Chronicle | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Scientists are closing in on the secret recipe for high-temperature superconductors. The secret ingredients are still unknown, but new research at Cornell and Brookhaven National Laboratory has revealed a little more about how they are mixed. Three previously observed events associated with the emergence of superconductivity turn out to occur at the same time.

 
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The World's Most Powerful MRI Takes Shape

The World's Most Powerful MRI Takes Shape | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

An MRI scanner equipped with a superconducting magnet strong enough to lift a 60-metric-ton battle tank will offer unprecedented images of the human brain when it comes on line a little more than a year from now, say its builders.

 

The imager’s superconducting electromagnet is designed to produce a field of 11.75 teslas, making it the world’s most powerful whole-body scanner.

 

Most standard hospital MRIs produce 1.5 or 3 T. A few institutions, including the University of Illinois at Chicago and Maastricht University, in the Netherlands, have recently installed human scanners that can reach 9.4 T. Superconducting magnets used in the Large Hadron Collider, which last year was used in the discovery of the Higgs boson, produce a field of 8.4 T.

 

The development of the scanner, known as INUMAC (for Imaging of Neuro disease Using high-field MR And Contrastophores), has been in progress since 2006 and is expected to cost €200 million, or about US $270 million. The project reached a key milestone this summer with delivery of more than 200 kilometers of superconducting cable, which is now being wound into coils that will produce the scanner’s magnetic field.

 

“We’re pretty proud of having met all the requirements, plus given them a little extra,” says Hem Kanithi, vice president of business development at Luvata, in Waterbury, Conn., which built the superconductor.

Standard hospital scanners have a spatial resolution of about 1 millimeter, covering about 10 000 neurons, and a time resolution of about a second. The INUMAC will be able to image an area of about 0.1 mm, or 1000 neurons, and see changes occurring as fast as one-tenth of a second, according to Pierre Védrine, director of the project at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, in Paris.

 

With this type of resolution, MRIs could detect early indications of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s and perhaps measure the effects of any methods developed to treat those illnesses. It would also allow much more precise functional imaging of the brain at work than is currently available. “You cannot really discriminate today what is happening inside your brain at the level of a few hundred neurons,” Védrine says.


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How space tech helped scientists ID gravitational waves from Big Bang inflation

How space tech helped scientists ID gravitational waves from Big Bang inflation | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

To make the find, astronomers developed a big new array of superconducting detectors for a telescope at the South Pole, which spotted characteristic patterns in ancient light left over from the Big Bang.

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A new look at high-temperature superconductors - MIT News Office

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.


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This shows MIT researchers' new method for observing the motion of electron density waves in a superconducting material which led to the detection of two different kinds of variations in those waves: amplitude 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.