Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Are Black Holes a Model for Superconductors?
(PHYSORG)- Black holes are some of the heaviest objects in the universe. Electrons are some of the lightest. Now physicists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have shown how charged black holes can be used to model the behavior of interacting electrons in unconventional superconductors.
"The context of this problem is high-temperature superconductivity," said Phillips. "One of the great unsolved problems in physics is the origin of superconductivity (a conducting state with zero resistance) in the copper oxide ceramics discovered in 1986." The results of research by Phillips and his colleagues Robert G. Leigh, Mohammad Edalati, and Ka Wai Lo were published online in Physical Review Letters on March 1 and in Physical Review D on February 25.
Unlike the old superconductors, which were all metals, the new superconductors start off their lives as insulators. In the insulating state of the copper-oxide materials, there are plenty of places for the electrons to hop but nonetheless—no current flows. Such a state of matter, known as a Mott insulator after the pioneering work of Sir Neville Mott, arises from the strong repulsions between the electrons...