Researchers at the Bordeaux Institute of Condensed Matter Chemistry (CNRS / University of Bordeaux / Bordeaux INP) in France have developed a superconductor, the first representative of a new family that contains silicon, a non-toxic element,instead of the usual toxic elements. Published in Physical Review B, this work will allow a wider use of these superconductors, for example in the fields of energy or medicine.
Superconductors are materials that, under a certain temperature, have the exceptional property of conducting electrical current without resistance and excluding any magnetic field from their interior (Meissner effect). Researchers from the Bordeaux Institute of Condensed Matter Chemistry (CNRS / University of Bordeaux / Bordeaux INP) have developed a new class of superconductors without toxic elements.
In 2008, the discovery of superconductivity in iron-based compounds marked the emergence of a new class of unconventional superconductors. But until now, all these iron-based superconductors contained toxic elements (phosphorus, arsenic, selenium, tellurium). The chemists have synthesized a new chemical compound based on hydrogen and iron, LaFeSiH, which becomes superconducting below 10 K (-263.15 ° C). This superconductor is the first representative of a new family that contains silicon, a non-toxic element, instead of the elements listed above.
This major breakthrough opens up a new and original line of research in the field of inexpensive and non-toxic iron-based superconductors. An interesting discovery for energy storage, non-dissipated current transport, magnetic levitation (trains) or the generation of intense magnetic fields for medical applications (MRI).