Researchers are currently bringing a lot of attention to nanophysics; the study of physics involving the nanometer scale. In particular, they are highlighting the development of nanoscale superconductors. These nanoscale superconductors are known officially as ‘nanosuperconductors’ and arSuperconductivity occurs when a quantum condensate of paired electrons (Cooper pairs) is formed. In nanoparticles and other small particles, energy levels are quantized. Therefore, the average energy level spacing is bigger than the superconducting energy gap, and it is at this point that superconductivity is believed to be suppressed.
Contemporary researchers discovered that it is possible to create superconductors at the nanoscale, as even in something that small, superconductivity can still be maintained. This is evident in a number of experimental metals and nanomaterials, such as nanotubes.e classified as a superconducting material developed at the scale of a nanometer.
Applications of Nanosuperconductors
Nanosuperconductors first found many uses within electrical components, and their discovery helped to develop innovations in currently-existing semiconductors. They also enabled the conversion of non-superconducting materials into superconducting units.
While nanosuperconductors are generally utilized in metrology or high-frequency applications such as amplifiers, magnetometers, and imaging, they have a broad range of uses across many industries.
Chemistry, Medicine, and Biophysics
Nanosuperconductors are primarily utilized in the field of medicine and biophysics in the form of improved imaging techniques (e.g., magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear magnetic resonance). The developments in these techniques using nanosuperconductors could lead to more accurate diagnoses of physiological abnormalities or improved disease monitoring.
For example, nanosuperconductors are already being used to magnetically tag antibodies in humans, which enables better diagnostics and therefore, more effective treatment. They are also currently being utilized in the development and research of gradiometers. By improving the abilities of the gradiometers, nanosuperconductors could help physicians and parents measure and assess fetal heart signals more accurately in real time.
Prior research has often suggested that superconductivity is a necessary consideration when looking into improving and developing enhanced power solutions. Therefore, nanosuperconductors have unsurprisingly been found useful in the development of power transmissions, strong magnets, and small and compact motors.
Research into Nanosuperconductors
Present studies on nanosuperconductors are mostly aimed at expanding the applicability of the material. In particular, researchers are committed to developing new uses for the nanosuperconductors through the use of nano-cells; ranging from singular cellular materials to complex arrays of nanostructures.
For example, currently being tested is the applicability of high-temperature nanosuperconductors in ceramic. Current findings promote the viability of nanosuperconductors against varying temperatures, which implies that the material can operate appropriately regardless of increasing temperatures. This also suggests that nanosuperconductors could be implemented in other high-temperature applications.
In another study, it was found that the flux line pinning in superconductors – used to improve the transport properties of superconductors – could be better facilitated using nanoparticles. The experimental result suggested that critical current density becomes higher by a factor of 3 and the Jc–B behavior significantly improves when nanosuperconducting units are utilized. This finding supports other studies by displaying the wide use of nanosuperconductors in various areas.
In the background material to his Nobel Prize talk in 2010, Prof. Geim illustrated the strength of graphene with his now famous cat hammock example : The unit hexagonal cell of graphene contains two carbon atoms and has an area of 0.052 nm2. That translates into a density of 0.77 mg/m2. A hypothetical hammock measuring one square meter made from graphene would thus weigh 0.77 mg.Lire la suite
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