Machine Design

Scientists find new type of superconductivity

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory uncovered evidence of an unconventional type of superconductivity when they were investigating plutoniumcobaltpentagallium (PuCoGa5).

A small piece of plutonium-cobaltpentagallium, a compound discovered two years ago at Los Alamos National Laboratory, could be the first in a line of materials with a new kind of superconductivity.


They found evidence that magnetic fluctuations in the compound, rather than interactions mediated by small vibrations in the underlying crystal structure, causes the electron pairing responsible for superconductivity. The compound, first discovered at Los Alamos two years ago, has the highest transition temperature among actinidebased substances. That still means the compound must be cooled at least –400°F to become superconductive. Scientists hope that finding one unconventional superconductor means there are more out there.

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