Understanding High-Temperature Superconductors Key to Meeting Energy Challenges

molecular beam epitaxy system

Molecular beam epitaxy system used to engineer atomically precise superconducting materials

Superconducting materials are considered to be an important component for solutions to the Nation’s energy challenges because they can conduct electricity without any electrical resistance or energy wasted. At Brookhaven, researchers in our Condensed Matter Physics and Material Science Department are studying the properties of these promising materials.

Unfortunately, high-temperature superconductors’ loss-free conductivity comes at the cost of extreme and inefficient cooling, and the fundamental physics that governs the behavior of these remarkable materials remains mysterious.

Now, scientists at the Laboratory and other collaborating institutions have discovered unexpected behavior that could be the key to solving the high-temperature superconductor puzzle. 

Rising temperature always quenches (stops) superconductivity, but the new study reveals that extremely low temperatures can cause structural defects to produce a similar shutdown. This observation, which helps illuminate the murky emergence of superconductivity, could one day open the door for scientists to engineer inexpensive, high capacity, room-temperature superconductors.

2012-3498  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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