The research, led by William Halperin, professor of physics and astronomy, in collaboration with scientists from Northwestern, Argonne National Laboratory and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL), was the highest magnetic field imaging experiment ever conducted.
The findings, including the direct evidence of an electronic Doppler effect, will be published Oct. 4 in the journal Nature.
"Currently, hospitals use low-temperature superconductors in MRI, but high-temperature superconductors a relatively new discovery may be a better material, with the bonus of requiring less cooling, thus reducing costs," said Halperin.
To advance its potential application in future technologies, the researchers first need to understand the physical properties of these materials and especially how they behave in the presence of very large magnetic fields.
"The goal in the medical world is to get better resolution in MRI technology in order to improve diagnoses the better the resolution the more detail for analysis," said Halperin. "Our imaging method is a major technical advance in the study of superconductors and one that has basic implications for magnetic imaging."
For the first time, researchers were able to peer into the cores of vortices tiny electrical tornadoes swirling around in the copper oxide compound, YBa2Cu3O7, the classic high-temperature superconducting material. (The vortices result from magnetic fields trapped inside the material.) The core of the vortex in the superconductor is very much like the eye of a hurricane except that it is so small it is ha
Contact: Megan Fellman