Superconductivity could have implications for creating technologies like ultra-efficient power grids and magnetically levitating vehicles
Physicists at the have led an international team that has come closer to understanding the mystery of how superconductivity, an exotic state that allows electricity to be conducted with practically zero resistance, occurs in certain materials.
Physicists all over the world are on a quest to understand the secrets of superconductivity because of the exciting technological possibilities that could be realized if they could make it happen at closer to room temperatures. In conventional superconductivity, materials that are cooled to nearly absolute zero ( ?273.15 Celsius) exhibit the fantastic property of electrons pairing up and being able to conduct electricity with practically zero resistance. If superconductivity worked at higher temperatures, it could have implications for creating technologies such as ultra-efficient power grids, supercomputers and magnetically levitating vehicles.
The new findings from an international collaboration, led by Waterloo physicists David Hawthorn, Canada Research Chair Michel Gingras, doctoral student Andrew Achkar and post-doctoral student Zhihao Hao,present direct experimental evidence of what is known as electronic nematicity – when electron clouds snap into an aligned and directional order – in a particular type of high-temperature superconductor. The results, published in the prestigious journal Science, may eventually lead to a theory explaining why superconductivity occurs at higher temperatures in certain materials.