Recently, a team of researchers out of TU Delft, otherwise known as the Delft University of Technology, based in Holland, released exciting news of their world-first breakthrough.
They claim to be able to successfully demonstrate a method of creating a one-way superconductor with zero resistance that can block any current flowing in the opposite direction.
This discovery could potentially lead to computers becoming up to 400 times faster than they are currently able, claims Professor Machar Ali, the team’s associate professor. He also says it could further lead to massive energy savings.
A New Dawn For The Age Of The Superconductor
The professor and the TU Delft team published their findings in the scientific journal, Nature, in which they outlined their outstanding research on superconducting diodes.
These superconducting diodes may also have the potential to make other electronic devices hundreds of times faster, while virtually eliminating energy loss.
In the past, and leading up till now, magnetic fields have traditionally been used to prevent superconductors from conducting in all directions, making them unfit for classical computers.
The alternative method discovered by TU Delft, however, for the first time, is able control the current’s direction without magnets. Instead, they incorporate a certain new type of quantum material that was developed by a material physics team at Johns Hopkins University. Its name is officially “Nb3Br8”, and with a composition similar to graphene, it is made to be “atomically thin”, and theoretically to also have its own electric dipole.
With two superconductors separated by a layer of Nb3Br8, the team claim to have created what is known as “Quantum Material Josephson Junctions”. By “peeling off” a few atomic layers from the Nb3Br8, it can become a sort of atomically thin sandwich layer need for creating a Josephson diode. Before now, this was not yet possible with the ordinary materials used for superconductors.
Ali explained in a recent interview that many of the current technologies, e.g. MRIs, based on older versions of Josephson Junction superconductors. Now, with their new superconductors, super computers can be developed that could theoretically reach up to a terahertz in speed. This will likely bring about a revolution in computing, as well as other technologies, vastly improving everything we know and are used to today.
Not Quite Ready For Production Though
When it is ready, the JJ superconductor will likely soon begin replacing the diodes used in centralised server farms and supercomputers all around the world that do everything from power NZ sports betting and news sites. Having gone through extensive testing, the team at TU Delft is confident that it works consistently, as intended.
However, one last obstacle remains in their path, preventing them from giving the thumbs up for production.
So far, the team has only been able to run the tests at extremely cold temperatures at 77 Kelvin, -196°C, or -321 °F. So, they need to figure out how to run their superconductor at more normal room temperatures, something that may be possible using “High Tc Superconductors”, says Ali.
This could happen any day now, but until it does, the world has no choice but to await the day in eager anticipation.