New Iron Based Superconductors

Posted on May 31, 2008  Comments (0)

Research Suggests Novel Superconductor Is in a Powerful Class All its Own

discovered surprising magnetic properties in the new superconductors that suggest they may have very powerful applications — from improved MRI machines and research magnets, to a new generation of superconducting electric motors, generators and power transmission lines. The research also adds to the long list of mysteries surrounding superconductivity, providing evidence that the new materials, which scientists are calling “doped rare earth iron oxyarsenides,” develop superconductivity in quite a new way

Early this year, Japanese scientists who had been developing iron-based superconducting compounds for several years, finally tweaked the recipe just right with a pinch of arsenic. The result: a superconductor, also featuring oxygen and the rare earth element lanthanum, performing at a promising -413 degrees F (26 K). The presence of iron in the material was another scientific stunner: Because it’s ferromagnetic, iron stays magnetized after exposure to a magnetic field, and any current generates such a field. As a rule, magnetism’s effect on superconductivity is not to enhance it, but to kill it.

Iron based superconductors might resist magnetic fields over 100 Tesla

The new superconductors seem like they will be able to make improved MRI machines and research magnets, a new generation of superconducting electric motors, generators and power transmission lines. Tesla is a unit of magnetic field strength; the Earth’s magnetic field is one twenty thousandth of a tesla.

Related: Superconducting SurpriseMystery of High-Temperature SuperconductivitySuperconductivity and Superfluidity

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