Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Finding a path to high- temperature superconductivity is currently one of the most challenging problems in physics,"

Superconductors are composed of specific metals or mixtures of metals that at very low temperatures allow a current to flow without resistance. They are used in everything from electric devices, to medical imaging machines, to wireless communications. Although they have a wide range of applications, the possibilities are limited by temperature constraints.

"Understanding how superconductivity works at higher temperatures will make it easier to know how to look for such superconductors, how to engineer them, and then how to integrate them into new technologies,"

At room temperature, superconducting materials behave like typical metals, but when the temperature is lowered toward absolute zero (at around -273oC, or -460oF), resistance to electric current suddenly drops to zero, making it ultra-efficient in terms of energy use . Although absolute zero is unachievable, substances such as liquid helium and liquid nitrogen can be used to cool materials to temperatures approaching it.

"Finding a path to high- temperature superconductivity is currently one of the most challenging problems in physics,"

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