Finding the Source of Superconductivity in Cuprates
Superconductors have the potential to change the world of electronics, as they can transmit currents without resistance. The problem is that superconductivity is not perfectly understood yet and limited to cold temperatures. Researchers at the University of British Columbia though have made a discovery that could significantly improve our understanding of one class of superconductors.
Superconductivity was first observed in certain materials at temperatures barely above absolute zero. Later it was found at higher temperatures in more complex materials, including some copper-oxides or cuprates. Though some cuprates may achieve superconductivity at the right temperatures, exactly why they do is not well understand, in part because of how complicated their electronic orders are. The researchers' discovery however indicates that all cuprates have a universal charge-ordering and that it is related to the emergence of superconductivity.
This work could lead to a better understanding of superconductivity, if only because it shows that two means of studying of cuprates can be used interchangeably; resonant X-ray scattering and scanning tunneling microscopy. Perhaps eventually this research could lead to more advanced superconductors that can operate at room temperature, but that would be in the future.
Source: University of British Columbia