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Able to stop stray electrons in a single bound, superinsulating materials could yield a huge benefit for the electronics industry.

Most people are now familiar with the term “superconductor” -- a material which possesses practically no resistance to electricity, theoretically able to sustain a closed system indefinitely without external power. Unfortunately, there are presently no known superconductors that work at room temperature, most only at a few degrees above absolute zero.

Superinsulators are not something one often reads about. There were no known such materials, in fact, until researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory produced one. A superinsulator, just as it sounds, works in exactly the opposite manner as a superconductor – very minimal to no current will pass through it.

The researchers found that a certain material, a thin film of titanium nitride, experienced a resistance increase of 100,000 percent as its temperature or the external magnetic field dropped below a certain threshold. Led by Valerii Vinokur of Argonne and Russian scientist Tatyana Baturina, the group of scientists used a dilution refrigerator to cool the sheet to near absolute zero temperature to make their observations.

Interestingly, the gimmick to superinsulators is virtually the same as for superconductors, relying on electron pairing known as Cooper pairs. These stable electron pairs form long chains in superconductors, allowing the near infinitely free flow of current. Conversely, in superinsulators, the Cooper pairs instead of linking together remain completely independent, thus inhibiting the flow of current nearly infinitely.

The group found that the difference between superconducting and superinsulating materials in this case is dependent on the thickness of the film. Several materials aside from titanium nitride also act in this manner, though none at room temperature.

In the future, superconducting and superinsulating materials could be combined to create a perfect theoretical self-sustaining circuit, high current transmission lines with no leakage, or high performance batteries just to name a few. A viable material with acceptable production costs would likely harbinger a revolution in electrical devices of all kinds and industries.



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RE: Vacuum?
By jbzx86 on 4/10/2008 10:50:33 AM , Rating: 2
Since it is rather difficult to create a perfect vacuum, that is not really feasible. Plus, the idea here is to pass this technology onto consumer products to better our lives.

Also note that gravity has no relation whatsoever to temperature. An objects mass affects its gravitational field, among other attributes.

And classifying super conductance and super insulation as phenomena only makes sense.


RE: Vacuum?
By snownpaint on 4/10/2008 2:16:21 PM , Rating: 2
If enough matter creates a large enough body of matter the gravity begins to creates pressure. PV/T.

I feel/think this is not a new state of matter.

P.S. Does anyone know of a type of matter that jumps states from a Solid to a Plasma? like sublimation.


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