Scientists Create New Superconductor (fwd)

From: xgl (
Date: Thu Mar 08 2001 - 13:07:55 MST

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 9:40:15 PST
From: The Associated Press <>
Subject: Scientists Create New Superconductor

        U.S. scientists have created the first plastic that can conduct
electricity without any resistance.
        European experts in organic materials engineering and
condensed-matter physics who did not participate in the experiment
praised the finding as a ``stunning'' breakthrough.
        ``It opens new vistas for coming studies,'' said Olle Inganas of
Linkoping University in Sweden in a prepared statement.
        Eventually, it could lead to the manufacture of plastic
components for a new generation of ultra-fast components that would
be based on quantum mechanics.
        However, Bertram Batlogg and fellow researchers who conducted
the study at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J., said practical uses
for the plastic remain a distant possibility because its
superconducting properties are apparent only when the material is
cooled to minus 455 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 4 degrees above
absolute zero.
        The results were published in the current issue of the journal
        Previous attempts to turn carbon-based polymers into
superconductors had failed, in part, because most polymers have a
messy atomic structure that creates resistance and impedes the flow
of electrons.
        In the experiment, researchers used a plastic called
polythiophene. They created a solution containing the polymer and
sprayed it in a thin film onto a layer of aluminum oxide and gold.
The electric field created by this exotic wafer of metals and
plastic pulled electrons through the plastic without disruption,
the engineers reported.
        Scientists at Bell Labs and other research centers said they are
searching for other plastics that will demonstrate superconducting
properties at much warmer temperatures using similar methods.
        If they succeed, it would be a commercial breakthrough because
plastics are easier and cheaper to use in electronic components
than more exotic materials.
        Last year, the Nobel Prize for chemistry was awarded to
researchers who originally demonstrated that plastics can conduct
        Bell Labs is the research and development arm of Lucent

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