Superconductivity and Bose-Einstein Condensate

Superconductivity was first discovered in 1911. Physical properties- resistance and magnetic induction vanish below the transition temperature (20 K). Lattice vibrations, impurities, and dislocations restrict the flow of electrons at room temperature. Below the critical temperature, aligned electrons overcome hindrance and achieve superconductivity.  

Source: yqqlm

Such a property helps in developing Mangelev trains, Power transmission, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Machine (NMR), Particle accelerators, Quantum computers, Drug analysis, and even in Telecommunication systems.  


Magnetic elements like chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, and nickel have never achieved superconductivity. "138 K is the record of high-temperature superconductivity, which would have been laughable five years ago has become a reality. Right now the main aim is to achieve superconductivity at lower pressures, '' says Dmitry Semenok, a co-author of the paper and Ph.D. student of Skoltech.  


Yttrium hydrides rank 3rd among superconductors at high-temperature. YH6 and YH9 achieve superconductivity at 224 K and 243 K, identified by Chinese scientists in 2015, as written in the Skoltech press release. The heat capacity of Yttrium hydrides is larger due to hydrogen optical vibration. While Lanthanum hydride LaH10 with superconductivity at 259 K ranked second.  

Source: Michael Osadciw


In Oct-2020 researchers from the University of Rochester became the first to achieve superconductivity at room temperature. Ranga Dias and his research team synthesized hydrogen and sulfur in a diamond anvil at 15-degree Celsius and 39 million psi pressure.  


Time magazine later wrote, " Let's be clear: magnetic levitation trains and resistance-free powerlines are not coming this year. But thanks to Ranga Dias, they are closer than they ever were".  


“To have superconductivity at high-temperature, you want stronger bonds and light elements. Those are the two very basic criteria,” Dias says. “Hydrogen is the lightest material, and the hydrogen bond is one of the strongest." 


Dias says, "The next challenge is to a find way to create the superconducting materials at lower pressures and produce at a larger volume". In comparison to the millions of pounds of pressure created in diamond anvil cells, the atmospheric pressure of Earth at sea level is about 15 psi.



Superconductivity in BEC 


Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), made up of waves, is a lesser-known state of matter in comparison to solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. Researchers from the University of Tokyo in Japan have managed to create a superconductor from iron and selenium. Properties of that superconductor overlap with the Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) regime. The Bardeen–Cooper–Schrieffer (BCS) regime is an arrangement of aligned atoms. It allows the current to pass with ease. Researchers believe this overlapping of regimes will further help in developing new material.  


In 1924, Indian Physicist Satyendra Nath Bose predicted about the subatomic particles. It got named after him as 'Boson'. He was solving problems on the quantum behavior of particles. Later, he sent his ideas to Albert Einstein. Einstein converted it from English to German. He found it relevant to get published as a research paper. Bose's mathematics later became Bose-Einstein statistics- applied to atoms as well as light. He proposed that cooling the bosonic atoms at low temperatures. It will fall them into the lowest quantum state. It will help to form a new state of matter. 


BEC is a group of atoms that get locked together at absolute zero temperature. The particles do not have enough energy to move relative to each other. They behave as a single lattice but not complete as a solid. Its formation starts by cooling atoms of Rubidium using lasers. Beams take energy away from the particles. For further cooling, the scientist does evaporative cooling. Atoms reaching the same quantum state, still can't be distinguishable from one another. The supercooled group of atoms later behaves according to Bose-Einstein statistics.  


In 1995, Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman of JILA worked along with the cooperation of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado. They cooled rubidium to 170 nanoKelvin temperature. Wolfgang Ketterle-from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), consensed Sodium atoms to create BEC. Later everyone got awarded the prestigious Noble Prize for Physics in 2001.

In simple terms, the Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) is a state of matter where a substance begins to act as a single atom called a Super Atom. In the BEC, all the atoms vibrate in unison, that is, they all vibrate with the same frequency. This phenomenon will revolutionize quantum computing. This concept is tough to understand and a great amount of research is going on to open incredible doors of achievement in the world of physics.

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