Understanding How Graphene can become Superconducting
The atom-thick sheet of carbon, graphene already has a number of amazing properties to it, including strength and electrical conductivity. As impressive its conductivity is though, superconductivity is still greater and has been observed with graphene, but not explained. Researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have now found how graphene and calcium become a superconductor.
Called calcium intercalated graphite, or CaC6 is produced by interweaving calcium and graphite, which is a means of isolating sheets of graphene. About ten years ago it was discovered that this material could become superconducting, but neither the exact means nor the source material was known. Using an ultraviolet light beam the researchers found that electrons scatter between the calcium and carbon atoms, interacting with the vibrations of the material's atomic structure, leading them to pair up and then travel without resistance.
For some time researchers have been trying to bring superconductors to modern technology, and while this will help, any applications for superconducting graphene are many years away. The researchers have speculated about what some of these applications may be, including ultra-high frequency analog transistors, nanoscale sensors, electromechanical devices, and quantum computing devices.