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Highest Critical Temperature Superconductor

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Raymond A. Serway; Robert J. Beichner, John W. Jewlett J. Physics for Scientists and Engineers. Florida: Saunders College Publishing, 2000: 1427.
Material Temperature (K)
TI-Ba-Ca-Cu-O 125
125 K
Handbook of Chemistry and Physics 82nd Edition. New York: CRC Press, 2000: 12-92. HgBa2Ca2Cu2O8… 133 K 133 K
M. Cantoni, A. Schilling, H.U. Nissen, and H.R. Ott. Characterization of Superconducting Hg-Ba-Ca-Cu-Oxides: Physica C, 1993: Volume 215, 11-18.
Critical Temperature for Hg:1212;
Critical Temperature (K)
125 K
History of Superconductors. NSTA, 21 March 2002. "In 1911 superconductivity was first observed in mercury by Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes of Leiden University (shown above). When he cooled it to the temperature of liquid helium, 4 degrees Kelvin, its resistance suddenly disappeared." 4 K
Elert, Glenn. Superconductivity. The Physics Hypertextbook, 2002.
Date Kelvin Temperature Comments
1995 139 Hg0.2Tl0.8Ca2Ba2Cu3O
Dai, Chakoumakos, Sun, Wong, Xin, Lu
139 K

Superconductors are materials that have no electrical resistance and conducts electricity with zero energy loss. This class of materials is diamagnetic, meaning that it will levitate permanent magnets. These bizarre properties make superconductors a unique and interesting material to research and to use in future applications. Unfortunately, superconductors experience these bizarre properties only under the influence of a very low temperature environment (requires liquid helium, liquid hydrogen, liquid nitrogen or liquid oxygen).

Theoretically, any substance can be a superconductor when frozen to an appropriate temperature. Scientists attempt to discover "high temperature"superconductors by methods of trial and error. The first element that was discovered to have superconductive properties at 4 K was mercury, which was discovered in 1911 by Heike Kamerlingh Onnes. The element that has the highest superconducting critical temperature of 9.3 K was niobium. The highest critical temperature for an ordinary compound is Nb3Ge, which has a critical temperature of 23 K. In 1986, a superconducting ceramic [(LaBa)3CuO4] was discovered to be superconductive at 30 K by Johann Georg Bednorz, Karl Alex Müller.

Currently, the superconductor with the highest critical temperature ever recorded is Mercury Barium Thallium Copper Oxide or Hg0.2Tl0.8Ca2Cu3O, which has a critical temperature of 139 K at one atmosphere. This superconductor is a type of ceramic copper oxide and its critical temperature was determined in 1995 by Chakoumakos, Dai, Wong, Sun, Lu, and Xin. Apparently, metal-copper oxide ceramic superconductors have high critical temperatures, which might unlock the key of synthesizing a high temperature superconductor that is superconductive under room temperature conditions.

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  1. Elert, Glenn. Superconductivity. The Physics Hypertextbook, 2002.
    [Editor's Note 2009: This chapter is now called "Condensed Matter".]
  2. NSTA.History of Superconductors. 21 March 2002.
  3. NIST.Ceramics Webook: WebHTS Query. 8 Febuary 2001.

Michael Ng -- 2002

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