The Debate Is Over: 2-Dimensional Materials Can Be Superconductive

Superconductors are now at their thinnest.

5. 12. 16 by Cecille De Jesus
Evgeni Penev/Rice University
Image by Evgeni Penev/Rice University

Super Thin, Super Strong, Superconductive

An international team at the University of Valencia’s Institute of Molecular Science has proven that superconductivity is not exclusive to three-dimensional objects—an argument that has long been a source of intrigue since the quantum physics field started in 1911.  

Research leader Eugenio Coronado and his team studied the electric properties of materials similar to graphene, the world’s thinnest material responsible for the technology around carbon nanotubes, which is also the same material in your pencils. They tested whether the materials would stay superconductive, meaning they can preserve electricity without any energy loss. This is required in technologies like ultrasensitive magnetic field detectors, efficient energy conduction, and levitating trains.

According to the University of Manchester, “That electric current would be carried by effectively massless charge carriers in graphene was pointed out theoretically in 1984, and the name ‘graphene’ was first mentioned in 1987 to describe the graphite layers that had various compounds inserted between them. The term was used extensively in work on carbon nanotubes, which are rolled-up graphene sheets.”

Technology and Energy in Slimmer Packages

The team focused on the materials that fall under a large family of layered metals called dichalcogenides, “an emerging class of atomically thin semi-conductors.” These metals turn into superconductors when cooled to a certain temperature. In one compound, tantalum disulphide (TaS2), researchers found that the temperature at which the layered material becomes superconducting as the number of layers is reduced, proving superconductivity even at the two-dimensional limit.

Advertisement

The new discovery opens endless possibilities, specifically in miniaturizing machinery that requires superconductors such as ultrasensitive magnetic field detectors. Ultra-thin superconductors have a wide range of uses for the mainstream market. So we may also see a revolution arise from this discovery, specifically in the wearable technology, electric sports car, and lightweight plane markets.


Care about supporting clean energy adoption? Find out how much money (and planet!) you could save by switching to solar power at UnderstandSolar.com. By signing up through this link, Futurism.com may receive a small commission.

Share This Article

Keep up.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter to keep in touch with the subjects shaping our future.
I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement and Privacy Policy

Advertisement

Copyright ©, Camden Media Inc All Rights Reserved. See our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Data Use Policy. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Futurism. Fonts by Typekit and Monotype.