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Canada Science Technology

Canadian Scientists Bind High-Temp Superconductor Components With Scotch Tape 97

Posted by timothy
from the move-over-duct-tape dept.
First time accepted submitter halightw writes "Scotch tape really can fix anything according to a new study where it was used to induce super conductivity by taping two pieces of material together. A "proximity effect" occurs when a superconducting material is able to induce superconducting behavior in a second material — a semiconductor that does not typically enjoy superconductivity." All that and X-rays, too. Related: An anonymous reader writes "Scientist at University of Leipzig in Germany claim to have measured room-temperature superconducting in specially treated graphite grains. The measurements were reproduced independently before the announcement was made. More tests need to be done to verify the extent of superconductivity and whether the effect can be extended and scaled to be practical."
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Canadian Scientists Bind High-Temp Superconductor Components With Scotch Tape

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  • Sometimes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by symes (835608) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @11:43AM (#41324571) Journal

    Just because they might be at the cutting edge of scientific progress does not mean common household goods, that were once thought of as perhaps as innovative as superconductivity, cannot be useful. Maybe I am stretching things in this case, perhaps they should have used duct tape. Anyhow, there must be other examples of this kind of thing?

  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @11:47AM (#41324615) Homepage

    So the really interesting part of this story - that superconductivity can be induced in high-temperature materials that haven't been grown in proximity - is completely overshadowed by the tape that held the experiment together?

    Fuck journalism.

    • by Meshach (578918) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @11:49AM (#41324661)

      So the really interesting part of this story - that superconductivity can be induced in high-temperature materials that haven't been grown in proximity - is completely overshadowed by the tape that held the experiment together?

      Fuck journalism.

      You must be new here...

    • by timeOday (582209)
      You are very right. A superconductor that's workable on a large scale would probably tip power infrastructure globally towards electricity. Imagine a few hundred square miles of wind turbines in West Texas providing clean, affordable energy in California.
      • by amorsen (7485)

        You can transport electricity with HVDC for thousands of km while losing less than 10%. Getting the last 10% back would obviously be nice, but it will not be a revolution.

        • Especially if your transmission capitol cost go up an order of magnitude, it may well be cheaper to just live with the 10% lose (is it really that high?). Electric motors and generators are in the same boat. They are already in the 90%+ range. Power density would be a bonus.

          However magnetic energy storage would have quite an impact.
    • by BMOC (2478408) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @12:11PM (#41324895)

      So the really interesting part of this story - that superconductivity can be induced in high-temperature materials that haven't been grown in proximity - is completely overshadowed by the tape that held the experiment together?

      Fuck journalism.

      I think you mean... that superconductivity can be induced at high-temperatures in materials that haven't been grown in proximity... And yes I find that far more interesting than using tape to accomplish it. Generally superconductivity dislikes material boundaries. This is why crystal grain boundaries (paradoxically) help control superconductivity in thin-film YBCO and similar high-temp materials by preventing eddy vorticies from interfering with flow. I had no idea you could induce superconductivity in a different crystal through proximity. in fact all of the knowledge I have on the subject (I did my graduate thesis on YBCO thin films) tells me it shouldn't be possible.

      • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @12:36PM (#41325127) Homepage

        That is what I meant. That sentence was mangled several times while revising, and apparently I posted a few revisions too early.

        Technology-wise, this is an interesting discovery. It would have been equally interesting had the scientist used fly paper or chewing gum to hold the semiconductors together. Once upon a time, this site claimed to offer "news for nerds"... let's not water down the nerdy science with the lowest-common-denominator amazement that versatile materials have many uses.

    • Real journalism is expensive and no-one is willing to pay for news these days.
    • by malloc (30902)
      That, and what's with "a Canadian dude did this, lets put a Canada logo on this story" instead of "oh, a technology story, lets put a tech logo".

      Unless I just uncovered the fallback plan: if it doesn't work out then Blame Canada!

    • Ooo Oooo OOOO, new tag: #Canuckistan

      BlameCanada is so 20th century.

    • by renoX (11677)

      > So the really interesting part of this story - that superconductivity can be induced in high-temperature materials that haven't been grown in proximity - is completely overshadowed by the tape that held the experiment together?

      If this result held, yes this is big news, but I remember of the "high temperature superconductivity fashion": quite a few of these experiment reported success but could not be reproduced: measuring supercondictivity is *hard*.
      So I'll wait until it is properly reproduced and meas

  • I "enjoy superconductivity" and all of its memes.
  • 2nd Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bigby (659157) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @11:48AM (#41324643)

    Is it just me or is the 2nd summary deserving of its own post? A room temperature superconductor, if found and practical/abundant, would be one of the greatest discoveries in science.

    • Yep, totally agree. the scotch tape superconductivity is helping superconductivity work at 80 Kelvin. The Carbon soaked in water, then dried is superconducting at 300 fucking kelvin. No scotch tape required! The cool thing about this is, if true, you could verify it in your kitchen.
      • Re:2nd Summary (Score:4, Informative)

        by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @12:21PM (#41324989)

        The cool thing about this is, if true, you could verify it in your kitchen.

        Not really, the superconductive spots are tiny, far too tiny to actually measure resistance across. The researchers are claiming superconductivity based on magnetic effects, which while very interesting, isn't exactly something you'd do in your kitchen.

    • Re:2nd Summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @12:19PM (#41324971)

      Well, the high temp super conductor research is extremely speculative and not at all practical. Thats not to say it isn't interesting and doesn't raise interesting questions, it is and it does.

      The first problem is the practicality. The superconductivity they are reporting happens where two tiny grains of graphite meet (the soaking and baking part is, essentially, just to get them to meet in the right way, though I suppose trapped water molecules could also play a roll). Disturbing that interface destroys the superconductivity. There's no way to wire two points together using this effect, which makes it essentially useless from a practicality standpoint.

      Which leads directly to the research's speculative nature. They can't wire two points together (not even tiny, tiny lengths) so there's no way to actually measure the resistance. They are claiming superconductivity based on an observed phase transition in magnetic properties when a field is applied. The transition they see is consistent with superconductivity, but most people wouldn't call it a silver bullet, "yes we are absolutely sure" kind of evidence. It could be some other effect we don't know about, in which case - NEATO! something new to study, or it could be superconductivity, in which case - NEATO! we've proved room temperature superconductors are empirically possible, we have an example to study which might pave the way.

      • A path from this to practical room temperature superconductivity, though speculative, is obvious. Fuse buckytubes every hundred atoms or so. Anneal in hydrogen or water or whatever. The fusing holds the tubes in a fixed spatial relation, and where they touch between fused points superconductivity occurs. Braid the stuff together in long ropes, and "Voila!" superconducting wire.
        • Your buckyball still isn't superconducting, just the regions where the two buckyballs are interfacing. So the route has to go through a research phase where we figure out what is so special about the interface between the two, then another research phase to determine if it's physically possible to string those regions together in a way that produces superconductivity over a usable distance. Then another phase where we try to figure out how actually construct the design we came up with in the last time.

          Yes

          • This is Slashdot. Logic and reason have no place in speculative discussions about the future here!

            You are right that it's *highly* speculative... but it's still pretty cool to consider... most of the time when we talk about "high temperature supeconductors", we're still talking about -70'C or colder. Some ceramics have limited superconductivity at temperatures of -50'C... to my (limited) knowledge, this is the first time anybody's observed superconductivity anywhere near room temperature. Of course geeks ar

            • You can get superconductivity at room temperature by varying other parameters too (generally to levels that are even harder to create/maintain than low temperature). I seem to remember an article on slashdot a couple years ago discussing room temperature superconductivity, only problem it required the material to be under several hundred thousand atmospheres of pressure.

              Maybe something similar is happening here... the evaporating water causing suction at nanoscopic scales that nevertheless applies enormous

    • by rossdee (243626)

      If there was a headline "Canadian Scientists invent room temperature superconductor" everyone would just think it was a joke.

      (Well I did once hear a similar joke "researchers in Fairbanks, Alaska invent...

    • Yes, it does deserve an article for itself.

      But room tempereature superconducting in graphite have been observed before, several times. Always with a very low signal to noise, but I guess the cheer number of observations is enough to hint that there is something there. It happens on several experimental setups, with several different arrangements of crystals, and nobody is able to point exactly what is superconducting, or how. That article is yet another step into understanding the phenomenum.

  • It's crrrrrrrrap! A'not super-cunduhtivativity 'nuff ta-boot!

    • It's called fucking Sellotape ya yank-sassenach fannybaws! (At least that's what my mum calls it.)
      • by gstoddart (321705)

        It's called fucking Sellotape ya yank-sassenach fannybaws! (At least that's what my mum calls it.)

        Wow, that's a lot to say every time ... "Oi! Laddie, get me the fucking Sellotape ya yank-sassenach fannybaws!"

        Actually, never mind -- I think I've heard one of my Scottish friends say something like that before. ;-)

        • " I think I've heard one of my Scottish friends say something like that before"

          You know my mum? :-) She thought it was poetic. (from Robert F. Burns, I believe)

          But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
          In proving foresight may be vain
          The best laid schemes o' Mice and Men
          Gang aft a-glape
          An lea'e us nought tae fix the pain
          But fucking sellotape
          • by gstoddart (321705)

            Still thou are blest, compared wi' me!
            The present only toucheth thee:
            But och! I backward cast my e'e,
            On prospects drear!
            An' forward, tho' I canna see,
            I guess an' fear!

            Ahh, gotta love Rabbie Burns.

          • by iplayfast (166447)

            But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
            In proving foresight may be vain
            The best laid schemes o' Mice and Men
            Gang aft a-glape
            An lea'e us nought tae fix the pain
            But fucking sellotape ya yank-sassenach fannybaws!

            There fixed it.

            • I bow to your command of the alban pentameter. It scans like a belter.

              Sincere apologies for my earlier outburst if it was felt to be offensive. I have a thing about sellotape, being a strong believer in fixing things with string.

              On the other hand, terms such as "laddie" and "Rabbie", although mildly offensive, are really pathetic. Their use should be moderated, preferably with the controlling qualities of alcohol.
            • [slow clap]

  • Hot date (Score:5, Funny)

    by eclectro (227083) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @11:53AM (#41324707)

    a semiconductor that does not typically enjoy superconductivity.

    I didn't know semiconductors have fun.

    • Enjoy - 4. Possess and benefit from

      [/pedantry]

    • a semiconductor that does not typically enjoy superconductivity.

      I didn't know semiconductors have fun.

      They do... but not as much fun as full time conductors.

  • Is there nothing you can't do...?

  • Duct tape is like the Force, it has a dark side, a light side, and it binds the universe together.
  • by AwesomeMcgee (2437070) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @12:03PM (#41324833)
    Next up, Fision created with baking soda, and nobel prize winning physicists use tetris to complete the standard model.
  • ...room-temperature superconductivity to be true. But this just feels an awful lot like polywater, cold fusion and the like -- something that would be amazingly cool, but has ambiguous or conflicting or incomplete evidence, and disappears when you look at it crosswise.

    I sure hope it pans out. Cold fusion didn't (so far), but high-temp superconductivity (liquid-nitrogen temps) certainly did.

    • by mark-t (151149) <markt@PARISlynx.bc.ca minus city> on Thursday September 13, 2012 @12:33PM (#41325099) Journal
      Don't hold your breath. There are three phenomena associated with superconductivity: zero resistance, the Meissner effect, and a superconducting phase transition. Only the last one has been observed so far in the graphite-based superconductor. But it's my understanding that it's only the first two that are practically useful. Either of the first two effects observed on a macroscopic level at room temperatures or above, and that is tractable to scale, would be utterly revolutionary, and the long-term impact on industrialized society would likely be beyond anything we've yet conceived.

      But yeah... I wouldn't hold my breath on this.

  • "Scotch tape can really fix anything" - False. "Duct tape - Fixes America and broken hearts" - True
  • Who said scotch tape can fix anything?! DUCT tape fixes anything. All scotch tape is good for is making quick hand-written labels that come off easily
  • by tool462 (677306) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @01:14PM (#41325515)

    Scotch tape! The greatest invention since this inanimate carbon rod!
    *scientist turns off TV in disgust*
    "Aww, Dad! They were going to show some close-ups of the tape!"

  • Scotch tape is like announcing invention of the vacuum tube while story on the very next page is dedicated to rollout of sub-nm process.

    Finding evidence room temperature superconductivity is even possible is huge... I hope Mattel is taking notes... some of us are still waiting for our hoverboards!!

    • Essential tools:

      Duct Tape - For when something moves and shouldn't
      WD-40 - For when something should move and won't
      Hammer - For everything else
      • No, the hammer is for crushing nuts with.

        Beer is for everything else. Or hard cider. Both are excellent lubricants too.

  • by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @01:47PM (#41325821) Homepage
    Here is the abstract [uni-leipzig.de] from the work done in Leipzig. Also if you happen to have access to Wiley Online Library or Wiley InterScience you can read the full publication here [wiley.com], I don't so I am not sure if that gets you all the way there or not.
  • I'd rather news of scientific discovery and really cool stuff, then news about patents, frauds, etc ad nausium.
    This kind of news is why I still visit slashdot!

  • So, in other words, they shredded some pencil leads on scotch tape and called it superconducting at room temperature?

  • Interfacial effects in electronic materials are interesting.

    Alves et al reported [Nature Materials 7, 574 (2008)] high conductivity (metallic-like, not superconductive) at a junction obtained by simply placing the faces of thin crystals of two very poor organic conductors (TTF and TCNQ) into contact and allowing the crystals to self-laminate.

    Interesting questions arise, including whether the conductivity is nearly 2-dimensional rather than fully 3-dimensional.

    I tried to investigate this in an undergr

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