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World`s first room-temperature superconductor comes closer to reality

Last Updated: Friday, March 21, 2014 - 10:51

Washington: Researchers including an Indian origin scientist are now one step closer to developing the world`s first room-temperature superconductor.

The new theory from the University of Waterloo, Harvard and Perimeter Institute explains the transition phase to superconductivity, or "pseudogap" phase, which is one of the last obstacles to developing the next generation of superconductors and one of the major unsolved problems of theoretical condensed matter physics.
The team includes Professor Roger Melko, Professor David Hawthorn and doctoral student Lauren Hayward from Waterloo`s Physics and Astronomy Department, and Harvard Physics Professor Subir Sachev . Roger Melko also holds a Canada Research Chair in Computational Quantum Many-Body Physics.

Hawthorn showed Sachdev his latest experimental data on a superconducting material made of Copper and the elements Yttrium and Barium. The material, YBa2Cu3O6+x, had an unexplained temperature dependence. Sachdev had a theory but needed expert help with the complex set of calculations to prove it.

To understand why room-temperature superconductivity has remained so elusive, physicists have turned their sights to the phase that occurs just before superconductivity takes over: the mysterious "pseudogap" phase.

The cuprate, YBa2Cu3O6+x, is one of the few materials known to be superconductive at higher temperatures, but scientists are so far unable to achieve superconductivity in this material above -179 degree Celsius. This new study found that YBa2Cu3O6+x oscillates between two quantum states during the pseudogap, one of which involves charge-density wave fluctuations. These periodic fluctuations in the distribution of the electrical charges are what destabilize the superconducting state above the critical temperature.
Once the material is cooled below the critical temperature, the strength of these fluctuations falls and the superconductivity state takes over.

The study has been published in the journal Science.

First Published: Friday, March 21, 2014 - 10:51
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