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Solving the mystery of superconductivity

by Kathy Chambers on Thu, 17 Oct, 2013

Brookhaven physicist Yong Chu at the National Synchrotron Light Source II looks

At the legendary 1987 American Physical Society conference, sometimes called the “Woodstock of physics”, thousands of physicists descended upon a New York Hilton ballroom to hear about the discovery of high-temperature superconductivity (HTS) in ceramic materials.  The world was intrigued with possibilities of magnetically levitated trains and bulk power storage.  There was excitement and great hope in the world of condensed-matter physics research.  

After decades of controversy, many competing theories, and several Nobel prizes later, the vision presented in the ballroom that night is beginning to emerge. DOE researchers and their collaborators are utilizing new technologies to make significant progress solving the HTS mystery. Some of the leading HTS theories are being challenged by using cutting-edge x-ray scattering techniques to discover hidden magnetic waves in high-temperature superconductors and additional breakthroughs are anticipated when DOE’s National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) begins operation promising unprecedented energy resolution. The string-theory holographic principle is one of the new conceptual tools being used to study HTS electrons.  Electron spectroscopy with synchrotron light is being used to understand HTS structures. And, the sample testing process is being greatly accelerated with the atomic layer-by-layer molecular beam epitaxy system. Read about superconductivity technology, basic science and progress towards theory in Dr. William Watson’s latest white paper In the OSTI Collections – High-Temperature Superconductors and visit SciTech Connect for comprehensive HTS research information.  

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Kathy Chambers's picture
Kathy Chambers
Senior STI Specialist, Information International Associates, Inc.