Researchers say metamaterials may be formally linked to another area of physics: superconductivity. In particular, they say that superconductors may be a special form of metamaterial that steer electrons instead of light. That raises the tantalising possibility that the secret to high temperature superconductivity could lie in the development of a new generation of metamaterials that exploit this idea further.
Superconducting properties of a material, such as electron-electron interactions and the critical temperature of superconducting transition can be expressed via the effective dielectric response function of the material. Such a description is valid on the spatial scales below the superconducting coherence length (the size of the Cooper pair), which equals ~100 nm in a typical BCS superconductor. Searching for natural materials exhibiting larger electron-electron interactions constitutes a traditional approach to high temperature superconductivity research. Here we point out that recently developed field of electromagnetic metamaterials deals with somewhat related task of dielectric response engineering on sub-100 nm scale. We argue that the metamaterial approach to dielectric response engineering may considerably increase the critical temperature of a composite superconductor-dielectric metamaterial.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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