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Leiden Institute of Physics Transmits Super Current That Travels at Record Distance

Leiden Institute of Physics Transmits Super Current That Travels at Record Distance
PHOTOGRAPH: Goodness Shamrock | The Gorlaeus building housing a part of the mathematics and natural Sciences faculty of Leiden University.

Immense computing power requiring minuscule energy may soon be possible. Researchers from the Netherlands have transmitted a super current with a net spin and an impressive strength using simple, superconducting devices.

The research team led by Professor Jan Aarts, a physicist from the Leiden Institute of Physics, created a wire made of chrome dioxide that only carries current with “spin.” After cooling it to a superconducting state, they measured a powerful current rate of one billion amperes per square meter, successfully breaking the record distance.

The researchers found that electrons spinning synchronously around their axes remain superconductive across large distances within magnetic chrome dioxide. The news was featured in Leiden University’s website and published in the journal Physical Review X.

Using a Bottom-Up Approach

Reliably producing chromium dioxide has proven to be extremely challenging owing to a poorly controlled interface transparency and incomplete knowledge of the local magnetization of the CrO2 films. The physicist and his team addressed the issues and used a bottom-up approach to growing chromium dioxide nanowires on pre-patterned substrates via chemical-vapor deposition, as cited in the journal.

Nobel Prize winner Heike Kamerlingh Onnes is credited for the discovery of the principle of superconduction back in 1911 in Leiden. A super current has an invaluable role in transporting electricity or running an electromagnet without energy loss, which is essential for scientific innovations that include MRI scanners, nuclear fusion reactors, and maglev trains.

New Spin on Superconductors

Any electron passing through a superconductor is known to have the combined spin of zero. During the last quarter of 2016, Harvard physicists reported finding a way to transmit spin information through superconducting materials.

The Harvard physicists turned around the fundamental property of superconductivity. To date, the researchers from Leiden have likewise successfully transmitted electron spin information.

Such discoveries usher new possibilities as far as storing quantum information is concerned. Although further information is needed to enhance present-day devices, the research scientists say the creation of much faster, more powerful technologies is at hand.

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