Researchers from Princeton University, Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry in Japan, using Scanning Tunneling Microscopy, have discovered how in a superconducting material, at a nano-scale level, regions with stronger superconductivity helped regions with weaker superconductivity survive when exposed to higher temperature.
The state of superconductivity, even with the most high-temperature superconductive materials, before it can be kept “alive” at those high temperatures, has to be initialized by first bringing the material to extremely low temperatures (kind of a hysteresis) pattern. The team has now shown that in a copper superconductor, small areas of weak superconductivity depend on the areas near them, if they are more superconductive.
This discovery could help future researches to manage the superconductive areas in a micro-designed ceramic material built to respect the above-mentioned rule. Such material can be made to superconduct at higher overall temperatures than those whose weak/strong areas are randomly arranged.