Scotch Tape to Induce Superconductivity in a Semiconductor
I suspect that whoever first developed adhesive tape expected it would have a profound effect on the world, but some of the uses for Scotch tape that have been developed in just the past decade are probably beyond what any inventor imagined. Years ago it was discovered you could generate X-rays with Scotch tape and now researchers at the University of Toronto have found a way to induce superconductivity in a semiconducting using the sticky ribbon.
High temperature superconductors have been the focus of a lot of research since their first discovery, as a room temperature superconductor could revolutionize electrical systems as we know it. However, those made from cuprates are believed to interface quite poorly with semiconductors, which could limit what we would use them for. This is in part because of the complicated makeup of the superconductors, compared to semiconductors, and the materials used to make the junction between the two just do not work too well. The Toronto researchers however found that using glass slides and Scotch tape they could create a junction between the superconductor and a special kind of semiconductor; a topological insulator. These insulators are conductive on the surface but not within their volume.
Another important factor of this discovery is that a superconductor can actually induce superconductivity in a nearby semiconductor. This is why researchers have been trying to connect the two kinds of materials, and why this discovery could prove very important for the future of electronics and more.