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posted by martyb on Thursday July 22, @09:35AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the attractive-proposal dept.

MIT Physicists Discover “Magic-Angle” Trilayer Graphene May Be a Rare, Magnet-Proof Superconductor:

Superconducting materials are defined by their super-efficient ability to conduct electricity without losing energy. When exposed to an electric current, electrons in a superconductor couple up in “Cooper pairs” that then travel through the material without resistance, like passengers on an express train.

In a vast majority of superconductors, these passenger pairs have opposite spins, with one electron spinning up, and the other down — a configuration known as a “spin-singlet.”[*] These pairs happily speed through a superconductor, except under high magnetic fields, which can shift the energy of each electron in opposite directions, pulling the pair apart. In this way, and through mechanisms, high magnetic fields can derail superconductivity in conventional spin-singlet superconductors.

[...] But there exists a handful of exotic superconductors that are impervious to magnetic fields, up to very large strengths. These materials superconduct through pairs of electrons with the same spin — a property known as “spin-triplet.”[**] When exposed to high magnetic fields, the energy of both electrons in a Cooper pair shift in the same direction, in a way that they are not pulled apart but continue superconducting unperturbed, regardless of the magnetic field strength.

[...] In their new study, the physicists tested trilayer graphene’s superconductivity under increasingly higher magnetic fields. They fabricated the material by peeling away atom-thin layers of carbon from a block of graphite, stacking three layers together, and rotating the middle one by 1.56 degrees with respect to the outer layers. They attached an electrode to either end of the material to run a current through and measure any energy lost in the process. Then they turned on a large magnet in the lab, with a field which they oriented parallel to the material.

As they increased the magnetic field around trilayer graphene, they observed that superconductivity held strong up to a point before disappearing, but then curiously reappeared at higher field strengths — a comeback that is highly unusual and not known to occur in conventional spin-singlet superconductors.

Spin-singlet state and spin-tripet state on Wikipedia.

Journal Reference:
Yuan Cao, Jeong Min Park, Kenji Watanabe, et al. Pauli-limit violation and re-entrant superconductivity in moiré graphene, Nature (DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03685-y)


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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Snospar on Thursday July 22, @09:46AM (5 children)

    by Snospar (5366) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 22, @09:46AM (#1159074)

    ... then travel through the material without resistance, like passengers on an express train

    What were they trying to say with this analogy? That the electrons shuffle along, find their seats and then the superconductor travels at high speed to their destination while the electrons nap or read a book?

    I guess the strong magnet comes along and demands to see their tickets but if they're not travelling "spin-triplet" class he "derails" the entire train.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @10:29AM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @10:29AM (#1159081)

      Good point. Since car analogies are always preferable, how about this: "When exposed to an electric current, electrons in a superconductor couple up in “Cooper pairs” that then travel through the material without resistance, like a teflon Yugo strapped to the roof of a Lamborghini".

      • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Thursday July 22, @07:35PM (3 children)

        by hendrikboom (1125) on Thursday July 22, @07:35PM (#1159196) Homepage Journal

        Isn't Cooper a model of car?

        • (Score: 0, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @07:56PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @07:56PM (#1159210)

          Only for dumb Americans who can't pronounce coupé.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 23, @01:37PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 23, @01:37PM (#1159393)

          Ever since the Italian Job made them famous (original, not remake) people think it was either Mini-Cooper implying Cooper made cars as well or that it was a Mini Cooper, as in a small car made by Cooper. But in reality Cooper was more like RalliArt, Shelby, Saleen, etc and was a tuner of other people's automotive designs, in this case the car company Mini (Which itself was a sub-brand of some British company I forget.)

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @01:25PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @01:25PM (#1159109)

    "stacking three layers together, and rotating the middle one by 1.56 degrees with respect to the outer layers."

    Is this like a microscopic version of twisted pair wires? I guess these are three layers so it's not a 'pair' per se but maybe it's just easier to twist them like that? I dunno.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by DannyB on Thursday July 22, @03:53PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 22, @03:53PM (#1159135) Journal

      Is this like a microscopic version of twisted pair wires?

      As for twisted pairs [hollywood.com], I would rate Tom Cruise and Cher as the most twisted. Therefore highest inductance per foot. (four feet)

      I guess these are three layers so it's not a 'pair' per se but maybe it's just easier to twist them like that? I dunno.

      It may be unconventional to add a third layer, but I'm not judging.

      --
      What can be done to stop bloggers from using the wrong color schemes?
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @04:19PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @04:19PM (#1159144)

    Will this finally make the tin foil hat obsolete? I've been wearing mine continuously since COVID and I suspect they've increased the power because the voices are much louder.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @06:46PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @06:46PM (#1159184)

      You need a twisted pair of three tin foil hats now

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