Using a silicon semiconductor platform - the standard for nearly all electronic devices - the researchers used tin to create the superconductor, a material that allows electrical charges to move without resistance. This, say the researchers, represents a breakthrough in fundamental research that may lead to unforeseen advancements in technology.
“When you have a superconductor and you integrate it with a semiconductor," says Professor and Department Head Hanno Weitering, "there are also new types of electronic devices that you can make."
While most superconductors are typically discovered by accident, say the researchers, the development of this novel superconductor is the first example ever of intentionally creating an atomically thin superconductor on a conventional semiconductor template - exploiting the knowledge base of high-temperature superconductivity in doped " Mott insulating " copper oxide materials.
"The entire approach - doping a Mott insulator, the tin on silicon - was a deliberate strategy," says Weitering. "Then came proving we’re seeing the properties of a doped Mott insulator as opposed to anything else and ruling out other interpretations. The next logical step was demonstrating superconductivity, and lo and behold, it worked."
Although the researchers don't have an immediate application for their superconductor, they say they have established a proof of principle, which may lead to future practical applications. For more, see " Superconductivity in a Hole-Doped Mott-Insulating Triangular Adatom Layer on a Silicon Surface ."
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