Superconductivity sure has capability to revolutionize our world with effective transport, inexpensive electricity, and even hover boards. Even though there is still a long road ahead to completely master that technology, a fundamental theory has just been confirmed that could help. The superconducting state happens rapidly when electrons in the material assemble in pairs. This formation is due to internal electrical currents that create the state when the required conditions arise. This particular theory was first proposed in 1989 by Professor Chandra Varma, and now Professor Chandra Varma himself and his colleagues from China and Korea have successfully proved it.
Image Credit: Magnetic levitation accomplished by one of the many properties of superconducting materials. ktsdesign/shutterstock
When some particular materials are chilled below a certain critical temperature, they become superconducting. They rapidly conduct electricity with zero resistance, thanks to the fact that electrons form pairs and move through the material smoothly without resisting each other. Professor Varma, now a well-known professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California Riverside, told IFLScience, “I suggested that this behavior was happening because there was an unusual phase transition due to loops of currents flowing within the material. It was a very bold hypothesis because no such behavior had ever been observed,”
The recent experiment conducted at the National Laboratory for Superconductivity in Beijing used a laser to accurately calculate the energies of the pairing electrons. The values were so precise that it helped them to prove that Varma’s theory was right all along. The results are circulated in the most recent issue of Science Advances.
The critical temperature for all the present superconducting materials is still suggestively below zero, with the hottest superconductor still requiring to be cooled to a temperature of -70ºC (-94ºF). But the researchers believe that their research could help develop room-temperature superconductors, which would allow for more effective technology that doesn’t overheat, faster transportation, and more progressive scientific and medical instruments.
Varma said “I can in my theory predict precisely the parameters that a material must have in order to get higher temperature superconductors. How can chemists and experimentalists (who make those materials) achieve those parameters? I can’t directly say, but the theory points to a certain direction.”