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Caption: An exotic new superconductor based on the element ytterbium displays unusual properties that could change how scientists understand and create materials for superconductors and electronics. In a paper published Jan. 21 in the journal Science, University of Tokyo and Rutgers University researchers report that this material, beta-YbAlB4, can reach a point where seemingly contradictory electrical and magnetic properties coexist, without being subject to massive changes in pressure, magnetic fields, or chemical impurities. This point, which physicists call "quantum critical," often defines whether and how a material can become superconducting -- a valued property where all resistance to electrical flow vanishes.
Credit: Courtesy Science/AAAS
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Related news release: University of Tokyo, Rutgers physicists unveil unexpected properties in superconducting material