Cornell University researchers create self-assembled three-dimensional superconductor

Cornell University researchers create self-assembled three-dimensional superconductor

Cornell University researchers have blazed a fresh trail by coming up with a self-assembled, three-dimensional superconductor.

Lead researcher, Ulrich Wiesner, a material science and engineering professor, said that for the first time ever, a superconductor, niobium nitride (NbN) in this case, has self-assembled into a porous, 3-D gyroidal structure. The findings were published in the journal Science Advances.

The gyroid is a multifaceted cubic structure based on a surface, dividing space into two different volumes that are inter-penetrating and include different spirals

Wiesner said, “We are saying to the superconducting community, 'Hey, look guys, these organic block copolymer materials can help you generate completely new superconducting structures and composite materials, which may have novel properties and transition temperatures. This is worth looking into”.

At present, superconductivity for practical uses like in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners and fusion reactors is possible just at near -273 degrees Celsius, though recent experimentation has yielded superconducting at a moderately balmy -70 degrees Celsius.

Wiesner said that there is such an effort in research for getting superconducting at higher temperatures, so that you don’t need to cool anymore. Wiesner explained this thing would revolutionize everything, mentioned there is a huge impetus to achieve that.

During the first trial to achieve superconductivity, the niobium oxide was heated up to 700 degrees Celsius temperature.

When the material was cooled to room temperature, they found that superconductivity wasn’t been achieved. Thereafter the same material was heated to 850 degrees, cooled and tested, and it achieved superconductivity.

Wiesner said that they attempted going directly to 850, but that didn’t work. And thus had to heat it to 700, cool it down and then heat it to 850, after which it worked.

Health