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Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds Besides the battery materials, we also have the superconductors. The superconductor is the kind of materials without any resistance under certain temperature. So if the superconductors can reach to room temperature properties, we normally can transport all the electricity without any energy loss. So each watt produced in the power appliance will be directly transferred to our devices. That will make the whole world more sustainable. However, a superconductor is very, very challenging. Because while you know the superconductor, you must know how the electron behaves. So in the superconductor, all the electrons become what we call the Cooper pair. So the electron and the electron will interact with each other. This kind of small electron pairs is hard to visualise by conventional technique.

Skip to 0 minutes and 59 seconds However, in STM, we can visualise the Cooper pair in the real space. By such a way, we know how we arrange atoms (that) can create the Cooper pair. And then meanwhile, we know how to increase the transition temperature for the Cooper pair in order to make Cooper pair exist in a higher temperature. In other words, the superconductor can work in the higher temperature and maybe eventually reach to a room temperature. It is a long way to go for the room temperature superconductor. At this moment, we have already made the semiconductor reach to -100 degrees Celsius. But later, I think at least we will come up more and more.

Skip to 1 minute and 41 seconds So this is our superconductor-coil coil based on fault current of limiter . So what that is used for is just the property of the superconductor, which has zero resistance at a certain temperature. So this one we will integrate in our electricity grid. Once the grid power is lost or broken down, actually the energy will automatically transfer and store in this superconductor coil. And one of the other grids is recovering the energy will transfer back to the grid. In this way, we can save the energy without any energy loss. And to the meantime, making our life sustainable.

Superconductivity in the lab

We have learned a fair bit of background information on superconductivity.

In this video Dr. Yi Du takes us into the lab and shows us the work that is currently been undertaken in regards to superconductivity. Superconductivity “is a phenomenon in which the resistance to the material of the electric current is zero”.

Some of the key terms used in this section are:

STM - Scanning Tunnelling microscope. This microscope works by measuring tiny tunnelling electrical currents between a sharp tip and a material surface. The arrangement and electronic features can be mapped with atomic resolution.

Cooper Pairs - a loosely bound pair of electrons and is more stable than a single electron within the lattice. They experience less resistance and can carry the supercurrent.

Conversation Starter

In your own words can you make the link between superconductivity, materials and surviving on earth?

How could superconductivity contribute to solving the energy crisis?

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How to Survive on Earth: Energy Materials for a Sustainable Future

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