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Layers of clues to superconductivity.

Layers of clues to superconductivity

While many scientists seek the material and processing keys to new and improved high-temperature superconductors, others are turning "failed" attempts into insights about the theoretical basis for the high-temperature superconducting phenomena. In the May 24 NATURE, Angelica M. Stacy at the University of California, Berkeley, and her colleagues report discovering a class of lithium-niobium-oxide superconductors that superconduct only when cooled to within 6 degrees of absolute zero. The older copper-oxide series of high temperature superconductors, one of which superconducts at temperatures soaring to 122 kelvins, remains the most studied series and holds the most technological promise.

Both the niobium- and copper-oxide superconductors have layered structures, yet only the copper-oxides superconduct at the higher temperatures. Careful comparisons of their molecular properties "will help clarify the mechanisms of superconductivity in layered oxides," the Berkeley scientists surmise in their paper.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Jun 9, 1990
Words:142
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