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Study at Laboratory for Quantum Magnetism Provides Insights to Develop New Superconductors

A study on atomic scale magnetism being conducted at EPFL’s Laboratory for Quantum Magnetism (LQM) may provide researchers a tool to explore new high-temperature superconducting materials that hold potential in lossless electricity transmission.

So far, physicists are not able to clearly understand the high temperature superconductivity phenomenon, which occurs at very low temperature of -140 °C. Physicists propose that the collective quantum magnetic properties demonstrated by the atoms of the material may play a role at these temperatures. However, years of effort might be required to explore the magnetic properties of the superconducting materials at atomic scale.

Ivan Bozovic, John Hill, and Mark Dean from Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Henrik Ronnow and Bastien Dalla Piazza from EPFL and Thorsten Schmitt from Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) have studied high temperature superconductivity at this atomic scale.

The Brookhaven team formed a one-atom-thick layer utilizing an innovative device. Then, using an ultrasensitive device, the PSI researchers measured the magnetic dynamics of the atoms in the material in spite of its extreme thinness. Finally, the EPFL team analyzed the measurements with the help of mathematical models.

Ronnow explained that with the study results and other findings from a recent research conducted by Nikolai Tsyrulin, a LQM researcher, the EPFL researchers have now offered a new tool to help develop new superconducting materials.

Electrical resistance in conventional power lines results in energy losses on the level of 3% in the electricity grid. When translated to the scale of the whole country, the energy losses are in several thousands of gigawatts. Hence, the use of superconductors in power lines will result in substantial energy savings, concluded Ronnow.

Source: http://www.epfl.ch

Will Soutter

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Will Soutter

Will has a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Durham, and a M.Sc. in Green Chemistry from the University of York. Naturally, Will is our resident Chemistry expert but, a love of science and the internet makes Will the all-rounder of the team. In his spare time Will likes to play the drums, cook and brew cider.

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