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

National Science Foundation Selects SUNY Poly CNSE for Expanded $2.1M Northeast Advanced Technological Education Center: NSF Center Locates to NanoCollege in Support of Flourishing Tech Industry in NYS September 1st, 2015

RUSNANOPRIZE Directorate Announces New Deadline for Nominations Submission – September 11, 2015 September 1st, 2015

$200K Awarded to Develop In Vitro Lung Test for Toxicity of Inhaled Nanomaterials: In Vitro Lung Test Designed to Protect Human Health and Replace Animal Testing September 1st, 2015

Hot electrons point the way to perfect light absorption: Physicists study how to achieve perfect absorption of light with the help of rough ultrathin films September 1st, 2015

Possible Futures

Sediment dwelling creatures at risk from nanoparticles in common household products August 13th, 2015

Harris & Harris Group Reports Financial Statements as of June 30, 2015, and Announces a Stock Repurchase Program August 10th, 2015

Molecular trick alters rules of attraction for non-magnetic metals August 5th, 2015

Global Carbon Nanotubes Industry 2015: Acute Market Reports August 4th, 2015

Academic/Education

Sustainable nanotechnology center September 1st, 2015

National Science Foundation Selects SUNY Poly CNSE for Expanded $2.1M Northeast Advanced Technological Education Center: NSF Center Locates to NanoCollege in Support of Flourishing Tech Industry in NYS September 1st, 2015

Announcing Oxford Instruments and School of Physics signing a Memorandum of Understanding August 26th, 2015

Kwansei Gakuin University in Hyogo, Japan, uses Raman microscopy to study crystallographic defects in silicon carbide wafers August 25th, 2015

Discoveries

Hot electrons point the way to perfect light absorption: Physicists study how to achieve perfect absorption of light with the help of rough ultrathin films September 1st, 2015

Using DNA origami to build nanodevices of the future September 1st, 2015

Scientists 'squeeze' light one particle at a time: A team of scientists have measured a bizarre effect in quantum physics, in which individual particles of light are said to have been 'squeezed' -- an achievement which at least one textbook had written off as hopeless September 1st, 2015

Using ultrathin sheets to discover new class of wrapped shapes: UMass Amherst materials researchers describe a new regime of wrapped shapes August 31st, 2015

Announcements

$200K Awarded to Develop In Vitro Lung Test for Toxicity of Inhaled Nanomaterials: In Vitro Lung Test Designed to Protect Human Health and Replace Animal Testing September 1st, 2015

Hot electrons point the way to perfect light absorption: Physicists study how to achieve perfect absorption of light with the help of rough ultrathin films September 1st, 2015

Using DNA origami to build nanodevices of the future September 1st, 2015

Nanotech could rid cattle of ticks, with less collateral damage September 1st, 2015

Research partnerships

Sustainable nanotechnology center September 1st, 2015

$200K Awarded to Develop In Vitro Lung Test for Toxicity of Inhaled Nanomaterials: In Vitro Lung Test Designed to Protect Human Health and Replace Animal Testing September 1st, 2015

Hot electrons point the way to perfect light absorption: Physicists study how to achieve perfect absorption of light with the help of rough ultrathin films September 1st, 2015

Nanocatalysts improve processes for the petrochemical industry August 28th, 2015

Quantum nanoscience

Scientists 'squeeze' light one particle at a time: A team of scientists have measured a bizarre effect in quantum physics, in which individual particles of light are said to have been 'squeezed' -- an achievement which at least one textbook had written off as hopeless September 1st, 2015

Seeing quantum motion August 30th, 2015

Quantum diffraction at a breath of nothing: Physicists build stable diffraction structure in atomically thin graphene August 25th, 2015

Southampton scientists find new way to detect ortho-para conversion in water August 25th, 2015

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