The Case for using lithium ion to make superconductors
The lithium ion is a highly versatile metal that has a variety of applications from superconductivity to light transmission, from biomedical devices to high-speed rail cars.
Now, researchers have shown that it can be used to make high-performance, superconducting magnets.
The work is published online in the journal Nature Communications.
The researchers say their findings could pave the way for the development of superconductive materials that could one day be used in high-tech medical devices, superfast trains, or other high-power devices.
The team first found that the lithium ion’s properties are similar to those of gallium, which is a common material used in superconductions.
The lithium ions also possess a number of other properties that make them particularly attractive to use as superconductives.
They are superstrong, very stable, and can be magnetically driven in a wide range of environments, from water to ice, the team reports.
But the team also found that lithium ions could also be used for other applications.
For instance, they found that they could be used as a superconductant in high voltage circuits.
“The key to our work is that the ions can be excited in a way that makes them superconduct,” says Jussi Niinisto, a research scientist at the University of Helsinki and the lead author of the paper.
“They can be driven by very high voltages.”
This could help superconduct materials become faster and more efficient than conventional superconductures.
The study was led by Michaeli Tamaki of the National Institute for Superconductivity and Magnetic Materials (INSN) in Finland.
“It’s not only a new discovery but also an exciting development,” Tamaki says.
“We think that this is a key step in realizing the potential of the lithium ions for superconducted magnets.”
To see how the lithium-ion materials work, Tamaki and his colleagues used high-pressure gas deposition (HPFD) to build a superconductor that was made of lithium ions.
The material was then cooled to about -100 degrees Celsius and subjected to a series of magnetic fields.
When the superconditions reached -1 volt, the metal started to fracture and start to break apart, causing the superconductor to buckle and become brittle.
The researchers also discovered that the supercapacitors were made of an iron oxide called gallium tin oxide, or GTMO. “
This shows that the material can be broken apart and then formed into superconductively conducting devices.”
The researchers also discovered that the supercapacitors were made of an iron oxide called gallium tin oxide, or GTMO.
This material can also be produced in a number, including silicon and gallium nitride, which are often used as supercapaphers.
The scientists next looked at how the GTMO materials reacted in water.
The GTMO material is superconductable when heated to a certain temperature, but it also reacts at lower temperatures.
This reaction is why GTMO supercapacs are so efficient at superconduction, and why they are not a good choice for superconditioners.
Tamaki, who also works at INSN, says the GTMs have been used to perform calculations on superconductance that are used to build superconductators.
The findings help pave the path toward the development in the next few years of supercapabilities in high power and superconducters.
“Our work is a big step toward the realization of the super-high performance supercapabelt,” Tamakis says.
The research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Additional research support was provided by the National Research Foundation (grants 62430 and 62438).
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