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Superconductivity achieved at Room Temperature

  • IASbaba
  • November 1, 2020
  • 0
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Superconductivity achieved at Room Temperature

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Science and Technology 

In news

  • Recently, researchers have created a material that is superconducting at room temperature. 
  • It only works at a pressure of 267 Gigapascals (GPa). 

Key takeaways 

  • A mixture of carbon, hydrogen and sulfur was put in a microscopic niche carved between the tips of two diamonds (diamond anvil) and laser light was used on them to trigger chemical reactions.
  • To verify that this phase was indeed a superconductor, the group ascertained that the magnetic susceptibility of the superconductor was that of a diamagnet.
  • A superconducting material kept in a magnetic field expels the magnetic flux out its body when cooled below the critical temperature and exhibits perfect diamagnetism.
  • It is also called the Meissner effect which simply means that magnetic lines do not pass through superconductors in a magnetic field.
  • If researchers can stabilise the material at ambient pressure, applications of superconductivity at room temperatures could be achieved and will be within reach.
  • Superconductors that work at room temperature could have a big technological impact, for example in electronics that run faster without overheating.

Important value additions 

Superconductors

  • A superconductor is a material that can conduct electricity or transport electrons from one atom to another with no resistance.
  • No heat, sound or any other form of energy would be released from the material when it has reached critical temperature (Tc). 
  • The critical temperature for superconductors is the temperature at which the electrical resistivity of metal drops to zero.
  • Examples: aluminium, niobium, magnesium diboride, etc.
  • Applications: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, low-loss power lines, ultra powerful superconducting magnets, mobile-phone towers.
  • Limitations: They need bulky cryogenics as the common superconductors work at atmospheric pressures, but only if they are kept very cold.

Do you know? 

  • Meissner Effect: When a material makes the transition from the normal to the superconducting state, it actively excludes magnetic fields from its interior.

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