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  • News

    Electrons have potential for mutual attraction

    Standoffish electrons typically keep one another at arm’s length, repelling their neighbors. But surprisingly, under certain circumstances, this repulsion can cause pairs of electrons to soften their stance toward one another and attract instead, new research shows. The effect may be the key to someday producing a new type of high-temperature superconductor, scientists report in the July 21...

    07/20/2016 - 13:01 Physics, Condensed Matter
  • Feature

    Year in review: Big stride for superconductivity

    After a two-decade hiatus, superconductors are again heating up.

    A compound of hydrogen and sulfur, when crushed at more than a million times Earth’s standard atmospheric pressure, appears to whisk electrical current along without resistance at temperatures up to 203 kelvins. That’s not exactly balmy — it’s −70° Celsius — but the current record holder performs its magic at...

    12/15/2015 - 06:55 Condensed Matter
  • Feature

    Shinsei Ryu: Error-free quantum calculations

    Shinsei Ryu, 37Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign | Quantum PhysicsGraduate school: University of Tokyo

    On the boundary between the quantum and everyday realms, things don’t always make a whole lot of sense. The bundles of particles that make up materials behave in ways both unexpected and unexplained. This is the weird world that theoretical physicist Shinsei Ryu hopes to bring...

    09/22/2015 - 10:50 Quantum Physics, Condensed Matter, Physics, Science & Society
  • News

    Electron waves refract negatively

    Nearly a decade after getting waves of light to bend backward, physicists have done the same with electrons.

    Electrons coursing through a sheet of carbon atoms exhibited negative refraction, bending at angles not seen in nature, physicists report September 14 in Nature Physics. By exploiting this unusual bending, the researchers created a lenslike device to focus the electrons to a tiny...

    09/14/2015 - 11:00 Materials, Condensed Matter
  • News

    Graphene shows signs of superconductivity

    Chalk up another superpower for the thinnest material on the planet.

    When sprinkled with certain atoms, graphene — a flat sheet of honeycombed carbon atoms — conducts electrical current with no resistance at low temperatures, four research teams report. While graphene has awed scientists with its conducting prowess for over a decade, this is the first evidence that the wonder material...

    09/04/2015 - 16:29 Materials, Condensed Matter
  • Science Ticker

    Quest for room-temperature superconductivity warms up

    The tantalizing but contentious claim that a material can conduct electrical current without resistance at temperatures as high as –70° Celsius has cleared another hurdle: It’s been published in a peer-reviewed journal. A study published August 17 in Nature provides multiple lines of evidence that pressurized hydrogen sulfide is the highest temperature superconductor ever discovered.


    08/17/2015 - 11:00 Condensed Matter
  • News in Brief

    Buckyballs turn on copper’s magnetism

    A new recipe for magnetism calls for an infusion of nano-sized soccer balls.

    When exposed to sheets of carbon-atom cages called buckyballs, copper and manganese become permanent magnets, researchers report in the Aug. 6 Nature. The technique could enable engineers to expand the roster of metals for magnet-based technology, including computer memory and medical imaging.


    08/05/2015 - 13:00 Materials, Condensed Matter
  • News

    Elusive particle shows up in ‘semimetal’

    A kind of particle first predicted to exist before the discovery of Pluto has been spotted on Earth within a compound of tantalum and arsenic.

    The newly discovered particles, known as Weyl fermions, resemble massless electrons that dart around and through the material in unusual and exciting ways, researchers report July 16 in Science.

    “It’s definitely a big deal,” says Leon...

    07/16/2015 - 14:00 Condensed Matter, Particle Physics
  • News

    Magnetic test boosts case for record-setting superconductor

    A promising material for conducting electrical current without resistance at a relatively high temperature has passed a crucial test. New magnetic measurements, detailed by German physicists in a study posted online June 26 at, indicate that pressurized hydrogen sulfide is a superconductor at roughly 200 kelvins.

    The fresh data bolster the controversial claim of hydrogen...

    07/06/2015 - 08:30 Condensed Matter
  • News

    Electron pairs can take the heat

    Electrons zipping through a thin layer of strontium titanate interact and form pairs at higher temperatures than expected, researchers report in the May 14 Nature. The study is the first definitive evidence of coupled electrons in a solid material too warm for superconductivity, a state in which paired electrons move with no resistance. The research could help scientists better understand how...

    05/13/2015 - 13:00 Condensed Matter, Materials