It actually seems impossible: Scientists from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the TU Dresden were able to verify with an intermetallic compound of bismuth and nickel that certain materials actually exhibit the two contrary properties of superconductivity and ferromagnetism at the same time. A phenomenon that had only been demonstrated around the globe on a small number of materials and which might provide highly interesting technological opportunities in future.
Just in time for the 100th anniversary to commemorate the discovery of superconductivity by the Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes on April 8, 1911, scientists from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf and the TU Dresden published their research results in the journal Physical Review B. Headed by Dr. Thomas Herrmannsdörfer, the team from the HZDR’s High Magnetic Field Laboratory (HLD) examined a material consisting of the elements bismuth and nickel (Bi3Ni) with a diameter of only a few nanometers – which is unique since it has not been achieved elsewhere so far. This was made possible through a new chemical synthesis procedure at low temperatures which had been developed at the TU Dresden under the leadership of Prof. Michael Ruck. The nano scale size and the special form of the intermetallic compound – namely, tiny fibers – caused the physical properties of the material, which is non-magnetic under normal conditions, to change so dramatically. This is a particularly impressive example of the excellent opportunities modern nanotechnology can provide today, emphasizes Dr. Thomas Herrmannsdörfer. “It’s really surprising to which extend the properties of a substance can vary if one manages to reduce their size to the nanometer scale.”
The TU Dresden and the HZDR are partners in the research alliance DRESDEN-concept which pursues the objective of making visible the excellence of Dresden research.
The original article was published under the title "Structure-induced coexistence of ferromagnetic and superconducting states of single-phase Bi3Ni seen via magnetization and resistance measurements" by T. Herrmannsdörfer, R. Skrotzki, J. Wosnitza, D. Köhler, R. Boldt, and M. Ruck as “Rapid Communication” in Physical Review B, Vol. 83, No.14 (DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.83.140501). The article was classified by the editors of Physical Review as particularly valuable reading.
(author: Sara Schmiedel)
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For more information, please contact: Dr. Thomas Herrmannsdörfer Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory (HLD) phone: +49.351.260-3320 Prof. Michael Ruck TU Dresden Department of Chemistry and Food Chemistry phone: +49.351.463-33244