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Graphene's sleeping superconductivity awakens

last modified Feb 02, 2017 02:33 PM

Since its discovery in 2004, scientists have believed that graphene may have the innate ability to superconduct. Now Cambridge researchers have found a way to activate that previously dormant potential. Researchers have found a way to trigger the innate, but previously hidden, ability of graphene to act as a superconductor – meaning that it can be made to carry an electrical current with zero resistance.

Superconductors are already used in numerous applications. Because they generate large magnetic fields they are an essential component in MRI scanners and levitating trains. They could also be used to make energy-efficient power lines and devices capable of storing energy for millions of years. The research was led by Dr Angelo Di Bernardo and Dr Jason Robinson, Fellows at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, alongside collaborator Professor Andrea Ferrari (Cambridge Graphene Centre). The study has managed to activate the dormant potential for graphene to superconduct in its own right. This was achieved by coupling it with a material called praseodymium cerium copper oxide (PCCO).

 

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Image credit: Pietro Zuco via Flickr