Researchers find way to turn non-superconducting materials superconductive

11/11/2016 - 10:09

Jeannie Kever | Image: Jörg Harms/MPSD,CFEL

Researchers at the University of Houston have reported a new method for inducing superconductivity in non-superconducting materials, demonstrating a concept proposed decades ago but never proven.

The technique can also be used to boost the efficiency of known superconducting materials, suggesting a new way to advance the commercial viability of superconductors, said Paul C.W. Chu, chief scientist at the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH (TcSUH) and corresponding author of a paper describing the work, published Oct. 31 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Ref: Interface-induced superconductivity at ∼25 K at ambient pressure in undoped CaFe2As2 single crystals, PNAS (29 September 2016) | DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1616264113


One of the major goals for scientists in the field of superconductivity and materials science has been to obtain superconductors with higher critical temperatures (Tc). One way that has long been proposed to achieve enhanced Tcs is to take advantage of artificially or naturally assembled interfaces. The present work clearly demonstrates that high-Tc superconductivity in the well-known nonsuperconducting compound CaFe2As2 can be induced by antiferromagnetic/metallic layer stacking and provides the most direct evidence to date for the interface-enhanced Tc in this compound. The observations offer an avenue to higher Tc.