Scientists have finally identified a new type of supercooling molecule that could revolutionise how scientists and engineers tackle climate change.
Key points:Scientists have identified a group of molecules that emit light when they are super-coldBut scientists say they are the first to demonstrate that the molecules are able to operate at temperatures of several hundred degrees CelsiusThe molecules, called diodinium nitrate, are a class of new supercoolersThe scientists are now looking for ways to harness the light-emitting properties of these molecules for future researchThe discovery could pave the way for the development of new materials for sensors, photovoltaic cells, and other applications, said study leader Dr Jonathan Eberhard from the University of California, Berkeley.
“It’s an exciting discovery because it demonstrates that we have a new class that can operate at very low temperatures,” he said.
“We’re looking at using them to develop superconducting supercapacitors.”
The research was published in the journal Science on Thursday.
“The discovery that we’re able to use these molecules at these temperatures gives us hope that we can eventually develop the technology to harness these supercooled molecules for light-based applications,” Dr Eberold said.
Professor Eberart said there were several ways in which the researchers could harness the properties of the diodine nitrate.
“One possibility is that they could use these super-conducting molecules to conduct electricity at very high temperatures and make them very stable, which would mean that they can operate without any external energy being transferred,” he explained.
“Another idea is to make them superconductive, but not superconductant, and to make the electrons jump through very small cracks to a superconductor that they then connect to to make electricity.”‘
We’ve just made the world’s smallest diodide nitrate’Professor Eberson said it was not clear if these molecules could operate at higher temperatures than the previous generation of superconductors, but that it was possible to make these molecules operate at even lower temperatures.
“These new superconductivity-inducing diodides are the smallest superconductic diodes ever discovered,” he told ABC Radio Perth.
“They’re the size of a football,” he added.
“So we’ve just now made the worlds smallest dialide nitrates, and that’s actually pretty cool.”
Dr Eberalts work was funded by the Australian Research Council.