Breakthrough Iron-Based Superconductors Pave the Way for Energy-Intensive Technologies

Iron_Based_Superconducting_WireThe US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory scientists have developed an iron-based high performance superconducting wire, paving the way for some of the most energy-intensive technologies in the world. Scientists were able to grow custom materials that are able to carry very high current under very high magnetic fields, not unlike those found in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), wind turbines, and particle accelerators.

Published in the journal Nature Communications, the Brookhaven National Laboratory scientists were able to demonstrate how the layered structure is able to outperform competing low-temperature superconducting wires while remaining cost effective.

The team is especially excited about their breakthrough with iron chalcogenide-based superconducting films that allow a very high maximum critical current under high magnetic fields and are about to raise the operating temperature for the material – thereby conducting more electricity in a vast array of technologies while using less energy to cool the superconducting wire.

Iron-based superconductors seem to be superior to copper-oxide (cuprate) high-temperature since copper-oxide materials tend to be brittle and require a complicated multilayer synthesis process. Iron-based superconductors, on the other hand, are much less fragile. They are also more easily shaped and can be used in huge offshore wind turbines and can be more easily integrated into various technologies.

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