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Iron-based Superconductivity – Induced by Alcoholic Beverages?

National Institute for Materials Science
Japan Science and Technology Agency

The National Institute for Materials Science has discovered that alcoholic beverages, including red wine, beer, and others, are effective in inducing superconductivity in Fe(Te,S), which is an iron-based superconductivity related substance.

Abstract

  1. The National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS; President: Sukekatsu Ushioda) has discovered that alcoholic beverages, including red wine, beer, and others, are effective in inducing superconductivity in Fe(Te,S), which is an iron-based superconductivity related substance. This result was obtained in research by a team headed by Dr. Yoshihiko Takano, Group Leader of the Nano Frontier Materials Group of the NIMS Superconducting Materials Center (Managing Director: Hiroaki Kumakura).
  2. In 2008, the iron-based superconductor LaFeAs(O,F) was discovered by Dr. Yoichi Kamihara of Tokyo Institute of Technology (currently full-time lecturer in the Faculty of Science and Technology, Keio University). Spurred by this discovery, superconductivity has also been discovered in a succession of similar compounds based on FeAs, FeP, and FeSe, and high expectations are placed on the iron-based superconductors as a “second vein” of high temperature superconductors. On the other hand, in spite of the fact that FeTe has a structure similar to that of FeSe and other iron-based superconductors, this substance does not display superconductivity due to interference by its antiferromagnetic ordering. Therefore, to date, the NIMS research team synthesized FeTe1-xSx (S-doped FeTe) by a solid phase reaction method, and succeeded in obtaining a substance in which the antiferromagnetic ordering is eliminated, but which does not display superconductivity, in other words, a substance positioned between magnetic materials and superconductors. In addition, the team also observed extremely interesting phenomena in this substance, including the appearance of superconductivity when specimens were left in the air for an extended period of time (Physical Review B 81, 214510 (2010)). Thus, this is an exceptionally important substance from the viewpoint of elucidating mechanisms for inducing superconductivity.
  3. In the present work, the research team focused once again on FeTe1-xSx as a substance positioned between superconductors and non-superconductors, and fabricated a specimen by the solid phase reaction method. Although the specimen obtained does not display superconductivity, it was found that this substance becomes a superconductor on the following day when immersed in an alcoholic beverage and heated to approximately 70°C. As a result of a comparative experiment with red wine, white wine, beer, Japanese sake, shochu, and whisky, superconductivity was achieved with all of the beverages tested, red wine being the most effective.
  4. This discovery is considered to provide extremely important knowledge for studying the necessary conditions for realizing superconductivity in this iron-tellurium-based superconductor FeTe1-xSx. At present, research is being carried out in order to determine which component of the alcoholic beverages is responsible for the manifestation of superconductivity. Clarification of the causative substance is expected to serve as the basis for the further development of new superconductors in the future.
  5. This research result was obtained as part of the research topic “Elucidation of the Mechanism of FeSe-based Superconductors and Search for New Substance” (Research Representative: Yoshihiko Takano) in the research area “Transformative Research-project on Iron Pnictides (TRIP)” (Research Supervisor: Prof. Hidetoshi Fukuyama, Vice President, Tokyo University of Science) of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) Basic Research Program, and is scheduled to be announced at the international conference ASC2010 in Washington, D.C. (US) beginning on August 1, 2010. 


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Nano Frontier Materials Group
Superconducting Materials Center
National Institute for Materials Science
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