Superconductors offer enormous technical and economic promise for applications such as high-speed hovertrains, MRI machines, efficient power lines, quantum computing, and other technologies. However, their usefulness is limited since superconductivity requires extremely low temperatures. It is highly challenging to integrate them with modern technology because of this demanding and costly requirement.
The electrical resistance of a superconductor has a specific critical temperature beyond which it drops suddenly to zero, unlike an ordinary metallic conductor, whose resistance declines gradually as temperature is reduced, even down to near absolute zero.
The search for superconductors that do not require such low temperatures is the primary objective of current superconductivity research. The mechanism by which these superconductors function is the biggest mystery in this field, to which no one has an answer. Understanding the process that creates superconductivity at high temperatures would allow for more practical applications.
Using a scanning SQUID (superconducting quantum interference device) magnetic microscope, the researchers photographed a phenomenon that had previously been invisible to other techniques.
From Bar-Ilan University
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