• August 2010
    M T W T F S S
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Award-Winning Supercomputer Application Solves Superconductor Puzzle.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (08/09/10) Freeman, Katie

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers have found that superconducting materials perform best when high- and low-charge density varies on the nanoscale level. The researchers rewrote computational code for the numerical Hubbard model that previously assumed copper-compound superconducting materials known as cuprates to be homogenous from atom to atom. “Cuprates and other chemical compounds used as superconductors require very cold temperatures, nearing absolute zero, to transition from a phase of resistance to no resistance,” says ORNL’s Jack Wells. The colder the conductive material has to get to reach the resistance-free superconductor phase, superconductor power infrastructures become more costly and less efficient. “The goal following the Gordon Bell Prize was to take that supercomputing application and learn whether these inhomogeneous stripes increased or decreased the temperature required to reach transition,” Wells says. The researchers hope a material could become superconductive at an easily achieved and maintained low temperature, eliminating much of the accompanying cost of the cooling infrastructure.


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