Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Template engineering demonstrates possibilities of new superconducting material

Chang-Beom Eom
Chang-Beom Eom

Abstract:
A breakthrough approach by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers and their collaborators in fabricating thin films of a new superconducting material has yielded promising results: The material has a current-carrying potential 500 times that of previous experiments, making it significant for a variety of practical applications.

By Sandra Knisely

Template engineering demonstrates possibilities of new superconducting material

Madison, WI | Posted on March 1st, 2010

The new approach and results appeared online in the journal Nature Materials on February 28 and illustrate a significant step forward in superconductor research.

"We've shown how to grow quality, single-crystal thin films of this class of materials, so people can study the fundamental properties and limits of them," says Chang-Beom Eom, a professor of Materials Science and Engineering, who led the collaboration between UW-Madison and teams from the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and the University of Michigan.

Superconductors are powerful materials that conduct electricity with no resistance, meaning no loss of electricity. Among the various possibilities of superconductors, a team in Japan is exploring how to make high-speed, levitating trains with superconductors that theoretically could travel almost as fast as airplanes. More immediately, superconductors are used in MRI machines.

While superconductors have enormous potential, they only work at very low temperatures. The copper-oxide-based superconductors, which have the highest operating temperature, work at approximately minus 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another major challenge is how much current superconductors can carry. For example, a levitating train would require a superconductor and magnet larger than currently is practical. However, if a superconductor had high current-carrying abilities, the mass of the superconductor and magnet theoretically could be small enough for real applications.

This second challenge is part of what Eom's team has addressed. Recently, scientists have discovered an alternative to copper-oxide superconductors. Called pnictides, the materials are based on iron and arsenide and are promising because they have relatively high transition temperatures, along with other ideal properties.

Until now, no one has been able to study the intrinsic properties of pnictides because it has been impossible to fabricate a single crystal of it with all of the material grains pointing in the same direction. "The quality of the films is crucial because imperfect films contain many crystal boundaries, which obstruct the current, as work published by our team late last year has shown," says Eom.

Eom and his team hypothesized that the pnictide thin films couldn't grow properly because the substrate used most commonly by researchers is oxide-based. Thin films like to grow in the same way as the material beneath them. Hence, the metallic-based pnictides couldn't thrive on the oxide substrate.

The researchers then engineered a thin template to place on top of the oxide substrate. This template has both metallic and oxide elements, meaning it can interface with both the substrate and the thin film. With the template, the film grows in a more ideal arrangement. The template also acts as a nucleation layer, or barrier, between the conducting thin film and the non-conducting, or insulating, substrate. (The template can't be used as the substrate itself because it becomes conducting when the film grows. As a very thin, intermediate layer, the template allows the film to grow, but has only a negligible effect on electrical measurements.)

Previously, researchers were only able to measure 10,000 amps of electricity per .06 cubic inch, which is a relatively useless amount. With the template, which is made of barium titanate or strontium titanate, Eom's team has demonstrated that pnictide thin films are capable of producing 5 million amps per .06 cubic inch — a 500-fold increase that brings pnictide current capacity into the usable range.

The team's three-pronged research — including the hypothesis about why previous approaches failed, the new template engineering solution and the significant carrying capacity results — will help other researchers learn more about pnictides and expand basic knowledge about superconductivity in general. Beyond superconductors, the template approach can be applied whenever a researcher wants to grow a metallic film on an oxide substrate.

"When any new material is discovered, we want to understand the fundamental mechanisms of it," says Eom. "We now have perfect, single-crystal thin films of pnictides in order to do that."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Chang-Beom Eom

608-263-6305

Copyright © University of Wisconsin-Madison

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Thin films

Dual-function nanorod LEDs could make multifunctional displays February 11th, 2017

NREL research pinpoints promise of polycrystalline perovskites February 8th, 2017

New material with ferroelectricity and ferromagnetism may lead to better computer memory December 21st, 2016

ANU invention to inspire new night-vision specs December 7th, 2016

Possible Futures

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Rice U. refines filters for greener natural gas: New study defines best materials for carbon capture, methane selectivity March 23rd, 2017

Discoveries

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Materials/Metamaterials

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Rice U. refines filters for greener natural gas: New study defines best materials for carbon capture, methane selectivity March 23rd, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Announcements

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Alliances/Trade associations/Partnerships/Distributorships

AIM Photonics Welcomes Coventor as Newest Member: US-Backed Initiative Taps Process Modeling Specialist to Enable Manufacturing of High-Yield, High-Performance Integrated Photonic Designs March 16th, 2017

Applied Graphene Materials plc - Significant commercial progress in AGM’s three core sectors March 3rd, 2017

Strem Chemicals and Dotz Nano Ltd. Sign Distribution Agreement for Graphene Quantum Dots Collaboration February 21st, 2017

Leti Coordinating Project to Adapt Obstacle-Detection Technology Used in Autonomous Cars for Portable and Wearable Systems: INSPEX to Combine Knowhow of Nine European Organizations to Create Portable and Wearable Spatial-Exploration Systems February 2nd, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project