Community News - can metamaterials make superconductors?

Posted on December 06, 2013

A story this week about an idea from physicists at the University of Maryland, USA, suggesting that there are close similarities between metamaterials and superconductors. In fact, they suggest that "superconductors may be a special form of metamaterial that steer electrons instead of light". They go further and suggest that, if this is true, metamaterial design techniques may help design high temperature superconductors. Should this prove true, the attractive possibility arises that this may lead to the Holy Grail of superconductor research, room temperature superconductors. Superconductors must be cooled well below the freezing point of water, and some to near absolute zero, to achieve the "zero resistance" that enables essentially lossless conduction of electricity. Room-temperature superconductors would bring enormous benefits, including more efficient and affordable MRI scanner and maglev trains (where they have applications currently, but require expensive and large cooling apparatus), and also generally in communications and energy transfer.


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