Here is some awesome news for the ever curious souls. Scientists in Japan have developed a new state of matter named as 'Jahn-Teller metal'. The path breaking discovery could lead to an understanding of the study of superconductivity. You must be wondering what this is. We have tried to pack-in some information about the newest metal on the block.

What is 'Jahn Teller metal'?

The Jahn-Teller metal appears to show the combined properties of an insulator, superconductor, metal and magnet. The research could help develop new molecular materials that are superconductors at even higher temperatures. The discovery was done by studying a superconductor made from carbon-60 molecules or “buckyballs”. The new state was found after changing the distance between neighbouring buckyballs by doping the material with rubidium. The study provides important clues about how the interplay between the electronic structure of the molecules and their spacing within the lattice can strengthen interactions between electrons that cause superconductivity.

A file picture of Tohoku University, Japan | Source : Wikimedia

Who discovered it?

The name 'Jahn Teller metal' comes from the Jahn Teller theorem which describes geometrical distortion of molecules and ions that is associated with certain electron configurations. It is named after eminent scientists, Hermann Arthur Jahn and Edward Teller who came up with this theorem. The discovery was done by Tohoku University in Japan. Kosmas Prassides, who headed the team of international scientists is a recipient of many prestigious scientific awards.

A representational image | Source: Manorama Online

What makes it important?

The landmark discovery has been lauded across the scientist community. It is nothing less than a breakthrough in the field of chemistry, physics and electronics. This new state of matter will allow scientists to better understand why some materials have the potential to achieve superconductivity at a relatively high critical temperature (Tc) - "high" as in −135 °C as opposed to −243.2 °C. Because superconductivity allows a material to conduct electricity without resistance, which means no heat, sound, or any other form of energy release, achieving this would revolutionise how we use and produce energy, but it is only feasible if we can achieve it at so-called high temperatures.

What is superconductivity?

It is a phenomenon of exactly zero electrical resistance and expulsion of magnetic fields occurring in certain materials when cooled below a characteristic critical temperature. Its applications are instrumental in the making of electric motors, maglev trains, power transmitters and MRI Imagers.

Maglev trains also known as 'bullet' trains uses magnetic levitation produced by superconducting magnets | Source : Wikipedia

What lies ahead.

The discovery is yet to be applied in the real world for practical energy production. A lot of work has to be done for a proper application. Nevertheless, it has paved way for further research and development in the study of superconductivity. It will definitely inspire scientists across the globe for experimentation and exploration.

Feature image source : Indian Express