Superconductor Pseudogap ExplainedCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: March 26, 2014 10:06AM
We are all familiar with resistance in our daily lives, as it causes our computers to heat up and smartphones to be warm to the touch after extended use. This may change in the future though, if room-temperature superconductors are ever created. Researchers at the University of Waterloo, Harvard University, and Perimeter Institute have recently developed a theory that could be one of the last obstacles to creating those materials.
Superconductors are materials that can conduct electricity without resistance, but their use has been hampered by their necessity to be kept cold. In some cases cold means just above absolute zero. As a material cools to its critical temperature, and just before it becomes a superconductor, it enters what is called the pseudogap phase. Understanding this phase has been a challenge to many physicists, and now the researchers have a theory to explain it. During this base in at least one copper-based superconductor, the material oscillates from one quantum state to another, and this disruption to electrical charges destabilizes superconductivity.
With this understanding of what precedes superconductivity, researchers may be able to one day design a material to superconduct at room temperature. Such a material would revolutionize the world with superior power-grids, faster electronics, and better storage systems.
Source: University of Waterloo