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May 19, 2020

Scientists use pressure to make liquid magnetism breakthrough

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

It sounds like a riddle: What do you get if you take two small diamonds, put a small magnetic crystal between them and squeeze them together very slowly?

The answer is a magnetic liquid, which seems counterintuitive. Liquids become solids under pressure, but not generally the other way around. But this unusual pivotal discovery, unveiled by a team of researchers working at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, may provide scientists with new insight into and quantum computing.

Though scientists and engineers have been making use of superconducting materials for decades, the exact process by which conduct electricity without resistance remains a quantum mechanical mystery. The telltale signs of a superconductor are a loss of resistance and a loss of magnetism. High-temperature superconductors can operate at temperatures above those of (−320 degrees Fahrenheit), making them attractive for lossless transmission lines in power grids and other applications in the energy sector.

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