Using computer simulations, researchers at the University of Chicago determined that it was theoretically possible to make a material that could conduct both electricity and energy without losses.
An important discovery
Published in the journal Physical Review B, this research suggests a structure for an entirely new type of matter, which could have very useful technological applications in the real world. ” We started by trying to answer a really basic question, to see if that was possible – we thought these two properties [conduire à la fois la chaleur et l’électricité sans pertes] could be incompatible within a single material “Says co-author and research advisor David Mazziotti, expert in molecular electronic structure and co-author of the study.
” But to our surprise, we discovered that the two states actually intertwine at a quantum level, and therefore reinforce each other. “Continues the researcher. As countless amounts of energy are lost every year from power lines, motors and other machinery, scientists are eager to find more efficient alternatives. ” In many ways, this is the most important question of the 21st century: how to produce and transport energy with minimum losses “Adds Mazziotti.
Although we know the superconductors – a type of material that can conduct electricity with almost zero loss – for more than a century, scientists have only recently been able to manufacture in the laboratory a similar material capable of conducting energy with a almost zero loss, called exciton condensate.
Combine superconductivity and exciton condensates
However, both superconductors and exciton condensates are found to be difficult to manufacture and maintain in operation, in part because scientists do not fully understand their operation and the theory behind them is incomplete. We do know, however, that both involve the action of quantum physics. In order to find a material in which these two states would coexist, the researcher LeeAnn Sager studied different combinations of structures and chemicals via a computer model.
And it turned out that several combinations were theoretically possible, and called into question the conventional notion that two states are not linked. Thanks to the’quantum entanglement, double condensates could even be considered on a macroscopic scale, that is to say visible to the naked eye. ” This implies that such condensates can be produced in new materials, such as a double layer of superconductors. “Indicate the American researchers, who plan to test their theories soon with real materials.
” Being able to combine superconductivity and exciton condensates would be incredible for many applications, especially in the fields of electronics and quantum computing “, Note Shiva Safaei, third author of the study. ” Although this is a first step, it looks extremely promising “Concludes the researcher.