Theory of high temperature superconductivity

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When applied to a high-temperature superconductor, this is the point of transition from superconductor to insulator. That is surprising. It shows that minor changes to the crystalline grid can have major effects on the mobility of the atoms and electrons. We therefore think that the oxygen atoms should be included in the model calculations. Controlling coherence via tuning of the population imbalance in a bipartite optical lattice M.

Kock, M. In this programme, researchers conduct multidisciplinary research into complex systems with a high relevance to society at large. Skip to main content. In the early years, these concerned the notching-up of transition temperatures and the establishment of theoretical approaches. More recently, they have related to the discoveries of entirely new families of superconductor.

High-temperature superconductivity at Still in suspense | Nature

Superconductivity has captured the imaginations of scientists and the public alike for a very long time. It was in that the Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes discovered that the electrical resistance of mercury suddenly disappears beneath a temperature of 4.

High-Temperature Superconductivity

The development in the s of quantum mechanics, which explained atomic structure, did not, however, immediately provide an answer for this phenomenon in mercury and, later, other metals. Granted, the loosely bound outer electrons of metal atoms can carry a current, but it was believed that at any temperature there always ought to be random thermal fluctuations that keep the current in check.


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Only in did three theorists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the US — John Bardeen, Leon Cooper and Robert Schrieffer — describe how an electron can deform the atomic lattice through which it moves, thereby pairing with a neighbouring electron. Being paired allows all the electrons in a superconductor to move as a single cohort, known as a condensate, prevailing over thermal fluctuations with ease.


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For starters, BCS theory is widely interpreted to limit superconductivity to temperatures less than around 30 K, whereas the superconductors of Bednorz and others were, by , transitioning at 93 K — warm enough to be cooled by liquid nitrogen rather than liquid helium. The early days of high-temperature superconductivity were mired in inflated language and competitiveness, as physicists strove to rewrite what they thought they knew about condensed matter while often deriding the attempts of rivals who sought to do likewise.

Gradually things settled down.

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A shared sense of mission has been helped by the ability to probe experimentally the electronic and magnetic behaviour of materials with much greater precision, using tools such as resonant inelastic X-ray scattering, angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy and atomically resolved spectroscopic imaging, to name but three.

There ended headline news for high-temperature superconductors until , when Hideo Hosono and colleagues at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan discovered another class of high-temperature superconductors based on iron and arsenic. Known as iron pnictides, these materials have exhibited only relatively low transition temperatures of up to 75 K. As indeed they have been.

The result smashed the previous record for the highest superconducting transition temperature at high pressure by 39 K. In a field that is full of surprises, it seems harder than anywhere else to predict what future developments are in store for high-temperature superconductivity. What is certain is that the recent discoveries of the iron pnictides and hydrogen sulphide have renewed hopes of future breakthroughs.

Even aside from that room-temperature goal, applications are emerging, if a bit later and with less fanfare than some had expected.

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The heat is on

Study unveils a route to high hole mobility in gallium nitride Sep 16, Sep 12, Sep 06, First report of superconductivity in a nickel oxide material Aug 28, Aug 27, Aug 26, User comments. Sign in. Forgot Password Registration. What do you think about this particular story? Your message to the editors.

Disappearing resistance

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