Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Fractals make better superconductors

Heat treatment improves the superconductivity of a ceramic copper oxide by creating a fractal network of connected channels of ordered oxygen defects. The green and red spheres represent the paired electrons responsible for superconductivity. Artwork by Manuel Vogtli (LCN).
Heat treatment improves the superconductivity of a ceramic copper oxide by creating a fractal network of connected channels of ordered oxygen defects. The green and red spheres represent the paired electrons responsible for superconductivity. Artwork by Manuel Vogtli (LCN).

Abstract:
A team from Rome, Grenoble and London report that the strength of the superconductivity - its ability to persist as temperature is increased- correlates in certain oxide materials with structures visible over a range of length scales. I

Fractals make better superconductors

UK | Posted on August 12th, 2010

Superconductivity, where a material conducts electricity at very low temperature with no resistance, and therefore transmission wastes virtually no energy, has applications ranging from medical scanners to maglev trains. Until now, scientists have focused on atomic-scale phenomena to explain this mysterious property of some special compounds. But in this week's Nature, a team from Rome, Grenoble and London report that the strength of the superconductivity - its ability to persist as temperature is increased- correlates in certain oxide materials with structures visible over a range of length scales. Intriguingly, these structures extend almost to the millimeter scale, and have a "fractal" nature, similar to the intricate patterns in a snowflake.
Since the discovery of superconductivity at the beginning of the last century, there has been a constant quest for improved performance in the form of higher operating temperatures and capacity to carry electrical power. A major breakthrough occurred in 1987 when two scientists from IBM discovered that oxides of copper, previously thought to be most unlikely candidates for superconductivity, superconduct at unprecedentedly high temperatures. Since then, this class of materials continues to hold the record for operating temperatures, well above the boiling temperature of inexpensive liquid nitrogen. At the same time, though, there is no agreement as to the mechanism underlying this high performance, even though a clear understanding would be extremely beneficial for engineers.

Until now, scientists have focused on structure at the nanometer (0.0000001 millimeters) - the distance between neighbouring atoms - scale as the determinant of the unusually strong superconductivity of the oxides of copper. For this week's Nature article, the researchers used the new technique of X-ray microscopy to examine a copper oxide superconductor whose internal structure could be changed via simple heat treatments - an approach employed by ceramicists over millennia to modify oxide materials.

The team discovered that the best superconductivity was obtained when the microstructure was most ‘connected', meaning that it is possible to trace a path with the same nanostructure (exhibited by oxygen atoms) over a large distance. The microstructure in this case was ‘fractal': if we were to zoom in on the material's structure at increasing levels of magnification, its appearance would remain the same.

Co-author Antonio Bianconi of the University Rome noted that "We are very excited by our results because they show that fractals, which are ubiquitous in both the biological sciences and the social sciences where they are even used to contemplate the behaviour of financial markets, now appear to have a significant impact on a fundamental property of inorganic matter, its superconductivity. " Co-author Gabriel Aeppli of the London Centre for Nanotechnology and University College London, added that "While there is no detailed theoretical explanation for what we have discovered yet, it demonstrates that classical ceramic engineering - with visible effects at near millimeter scales - can collude with quantum physics to produce the best superconductors."

The article is published in Nature (doi:10.1038/nature09260) on 12 Aug 2010. Click here (*) to see the article and associated News and Views on Nature's website

(*) www.nature.com/nature/journal/v466/n7308/full/nature09260.html

####

About London Centre for Nanotechnology
The London Centre for Nanotechnology is an interdisciplinary joint enterprise between University College London and Imperial College London. In bringing together world-class infrastructure and leading nanotechnology research activities, the Centre has the critical mass to compete with the best facilities world-wide. Research programmes are aligned to three key areas, namely Planet Care, Healthcare and Information Technology and exploit core competencies in the biomedical, physical and engineering sciences. Website: www.london-nano.com

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
UCL Press Office
David Weston
tel. +44-20 7679 7678

Copyright © London Centre for Nanotechnology

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

Metal oxide sandwiches: New option to manipulate properties of interfaces February 8th, 2016

Canadian physicists discover new properties of superconductivity February 8th, 2016

Leading bugs to the death chamber: A kinder face of cholesterol February 8th, 2016

From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes February 8th, 2016

Possible Futures

From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes February 8th, 2016

Host-guest nanowires for efficient water splitting and solar energy storage February 7th, 2016

Graphene is strong, but is it tough? Berkeley Lab scientists find that polycrystalline graphene is not very resistant to fracture February 7th, 2016

Scientists take key step toward custom-made nanoscale chemical factories: Berkeley Lab researchers part of team that creates new function in tiny protein shell structures February 6th, 2016

Academic/Education

COD Grad Begins Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University: Marsela Jorgolli's Passion for Physics Has Led to a Decade of Academic Research That Continues at Harvard University as a Postdoctoral Fellow February 2nd, 2016

Heriot-Watt's Institute of Photonics & Quantum Sciences uses the Deben Microtest 2 kN tensile stage to characterise ceramics and engineering plastics January 21st, 2016

Multiple uses for the JPK NanoWizard AFM system in the Smart Interfaces in Environmental Nanotechnology Group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign January 20th, 2016

BioSolar Extends Research Agreement With UCSB for Next Phase of Its Super Battery Technology: Development Effort to Continue Under the Supervision of Nobel Laureate, Dr. Alan Heeger January 13th, 2016

Discoveries

Metal oxide sandwiches: New option to manipulate properties of interfaces February 8th, 2016

Canadian physicists discover new properties of superconductivity February 8th, 2016

Leading bugs to the death chamber: A kinder face of cholesterol February 8th, 2016

The iron stepping stones to better wearable tech without semiconductors February 8th, 2016

Announcements

Metal oxide sandwiches: New option to manipulate properties of interfaces February 8th, 2016

Canadian physicists discover new properties of superconductivity February 8th, 2016

Leading bugs to the death chamber: A kinder face of cholesterol February 8th, 2016

From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes February 8th, 2016

Research partnerships

Scientists take key step toward custom-made nanoscale chemical factories: Berkeley Lab researchers part of team that creates new function in tiny protein shell structures February 6th, 2016

Polar vortices observed in ferroelectric: New state of matter holds promise for ultracompact data storage and processing February 4th, 2016

Spin dynamics in an atomically thin semi-conductor February 1st, 2016

Graphene shown to safely interact with neurons in the brain January 31st, 2016

Quantum nanoscience

The iron stepping stones to better wearable tech without semiconductors February 8th, 2016

Spin dynamics in an atomically thin semi-conductor February 1st, 2016

New record in nanoelectronics at ultralow temperatures January 28th, 2016

Leti to Host Workshop on New Photonics Applications During SPIE Photonics West: Researchers also Will Present Four Invited Papers At Feb. 13-18 Conference, 14 Papers, Overall January 25th, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic