The much-touted superconductivity of wonder material graphene has been unlocked by researchers at Cambridge University. According to a study, the innate super conductivity of Graphenewas unraveled by coupling graphene with praseodymium cerium copper oxide (PCCO).
So far, graphene's high conductivity was on display only when it was doped with a superconducting material. But that had the risk of graphene losing many other properties.
In the new experiment by Cambridge researchers, graphene turned a superconductor in carrying electrical current with zero resistance.
The study has been published in Nature Communications.
Graphene has many remarkable properties and is hailed as a wonder material thanks to its super strength, light weight, flexibility and high conductivity.
It has been a favorite of scientists ever since it was discovered in 2004 and speculations were up that graphene could be a superconductor.
The research in Cambridge University had Angelo Di Bernardo in the lead along with Jason Robinson, who are fellows of St John's College and were backed by a few other collaborators.
Super Conductivity Demarcated
In the experiment, the researchers sought to demarcate the respective super conductivity power of PCCO and graphene.
As an oxide, PCCO belongs to "cuprates", which is a family of superconducting materials with pronounced electronic properties.
Using tunneling microscopy, the researchers distinguished the superconductivity of PCCO and that of Graphene.
P Wave Superconductivity
The experiment heralds a flood gate of opportunities for graphene including its use in creating many superconducting quantum devices useful for high-speed computing and in reinforcing superconductivity known as "p-wave." The latter has been a puzzle on which academics have been researching for more than 20 years.
According to the researchers, the coupling of graphene with PCCO indicated that graphene's electron pairs were in a p-wave state.
"What we saw in the graphene was, in other words, a very different type of superconductivity than in PCCO," said Robinson. According to him, PCCO was only unleashing the intrinsic superconductivity of Graphene.
According to Robinson, if p-wave superconductivity is indeed developing in graphene, it could become a hub for the exploration for a whole new host of superconducting devices in applied research areas.
Superconductors are in high demand for many applications thanks to their capacity to generate large magnetic fields. They are essential in MRI scanners and find high use in energy-efficient power lines and devices that can store energy for millions of years.
Cambridge Graphene Acquired
Meanwhile, UK-based company Versarien has acquired a majority stake in Cambridge Graphene, the hived off company of the University of Cambridge.
Cambridge Graphene makes inks based on graphene under processes patented by the Cambridge Graphene Centre.
Versarien is aiming to become the center of the commercial development of graphene in the UK.
"This addition to our existing graphene operations and in particular, 2-DTech, which we acquired from Manchester University in April 2014, bridges the gap between the two centers of excellence for graphene and between them really puts us at the center of the graphene universe," said Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien.