SAN JOSE, Calif. – IBM cited progress in its quest for an atomic-level memory technology that could someday replace hard disk drives and said the hunt for room-temperature superconductors continues.
“There’s no barrier [to finding room-temperature superconductors], it’s just a question of finding the route,” said Stuart Parkin, an IBM Fellow and manager of its magnetoelectronics group in an interview with EE Times during a symposium on the topic at IBM Almaden Research Lab here.
Superconductors offer no electrical resistance, opening the door to advances such as high-speed trains and power transmissions, but to date they require cooling to extremely low temperatures using liquid nitrogen. With room-temperature superconductors you could more easily “build quantum computing devices, exquisitely sensitive sensors to explore phenomena such as brain waves, store and transmit energy more effectively and manipulate more objects with levitation,” said Parkin.
IBM’s lab (above) is exploring new kinds of man-made materials in the quest for such superconductors. It has four vacuum chambers using three deposition techniques for layering on coatings as thin as a single atom.
Iron-based materials are one relatively new field researchers are exploring. For example, at the symposium Oct. 15-18 here a researcher from Tsinghua University described work that indirectly found superconducting properties at 80 Kelvin in a form of iron selenium.
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