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Gallium stabilizes new superconductor.

By adding gallium to an yttrium copper oxide compound. scientists have created a new-and possibly tougher-family of superconductors. Researchers from Northwestern University in Evanston, III., and Argonne (III.) National Laboratory used high pressures to make the new material, which conducts electricity with no resistance at temperatures up to 73 kelvins.

This material seems more stable than other high-temperature superconductors, which lose oxygen when heated in air, says Northwestern chemist Kenneth Peoppelmeier. He described the work last week at an international conference on superconductivity in Kanazawa, Japan.

Superconductors made with copper and oxygen generally fall into one of three families, depending on whether they contain yttrium and barrium, lanthanum and barium, or bismuth and thallium. The Illinois researchers have now created a forth type by adding gallium and by replacing almost one-third of the yttrium with calcium. They subjected the resulting mixture to very high pressures of oxygen to make it into a superconducting solid. Like other superconductors, this one conducts electrons along planes formed by copper and oxygen atoms, Poeppelmeier says.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Aug 3, 1991
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