Scientists have produced the primary nickel oxide material that shows clear signs of superconductivity the ability to transmit electrical current with no loss in the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University.
Also referred to as a nickelate, it is the primary in a potential new family of unconventional superconductors that is similar to the copper oxides, or cuprates, whose discovery in 1986 raised hopes that superconductors could someday operate at close to room temperature and revolutionize electronic devices, power transmission, and different technologies. These similarities have scientists wondering if nickelates could also superconduct at relatively high temperatures.
On the same time, the new material appears different from the cuprates in fundamental ways, for instance, it might not contain a type of magnetism that all the superconducting cuprates have, and this could overturn leading theories of how these unconventional superconductors work. After more than three decades of research, no one has pinned that down.
The experiments have been led by Danfeng Li, a postdoctoral researcher with the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences at SLAC, and described at present in Nature.
“This can be a significant discovery that requires us to rethink the details of the electronic structure and potential mechanisms of superconductivity in these materials,” stated George Sawatzky, a professor of physics and chemistry at the University of British Columbia who was not concerned in the study however wrote a commentary that accompanied the paper in Nature. “That is going to cause an awful lot of people to jump into investigating this new class of materials, and all types of experimental and theoretical work might be accomplished.”