Using Light to Control SuperconductivityCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: August 29, 2012 06:52AM
High temperature superconductivity is the ultimate goal of many researchers as superconductors transmit electric without resistance. Such materials would revolutionize power delivery and electronics like those in computers, but first we have to find the right material. Superconductivity, like other quantum mechanical phenomenon, only appears under certain conditions, such as low temperatures, and above the critical temperature, the phenomenon is gone. Now researchers at Tel Aviv University have discovered a way to control this critical temperature using light.
The researchers put a 50 nm thick layer of an organic material on top of a superconducting film, which responds to certain frequencies of light by changing shape. These changes thus affected the superconductor by raising and lowering the critical temperature. Depending on the compound the layer was made of though, the effect light had differed.
The hope for this research is to allow a material to become a superconductor without having to cool it, which can be a complicated process. Potentially it could also be used to create advanced memory technology that benefits from the lack of resistance and the relatively low amount of power needed for the light source.