Scientists from the
National Institute for Materials
found that immersing pellets of an iron-based compound in heated alcoholic
beverages for 24 hours increase their superconducting ability.
can become superconductive after being exposed to air. However, this process can
take up to several months. This study demonstrated that superconductivity can
be induced in just one day.
Due to the variety of
technological applications of superconducting materials, there has been a
scramble for substances that may induce and enhance superconductivity in
The alcoholic beverages
used were red and white wine, beer, Japanese sake, shochu, and whisky. Samples
of the iron-based compound were immersed in each beverage, heated at 70oC
for 24 hours, and then analyzed.
Red wine was shown to
induce the best superconducting properties; however beverages with the same
alcohol concentration showed a difference. This suggests that it
may not be the alcohol contributing to the creation of superconductivity, but
instead another component present in the beverages.
undergo a process called magnetic order whereby the molecules align in a
regular pattern. To achieve superconductivity, magnetic order must be
suppressed. In order to become superconductive, the elements in the iron-based
compounds must be substituted with elements present in alcohol.
The exact mechanism
behind this effect is largely unknown however the researchers suggest that it
may be due to the insertion of electrically charged particles into the layers
of the compound.
An alternative theory
is that the alcoholic beverages help to supply oxygen into the sample, which in
turn causes superconductivity. A clearer understanding will be had by analyzing
the structure and composition of the beverages to identify the key factor in
Takano, Nano Frontier Materials Group at the National Institute for Materials
Science, Japan, said, “The iron compound becomes superconductive by air
exposure but the sample needs to be exposed to air for a few months to show
sample immersed in the red wine becomes superconductive only in one day, much
faster than air-exposure.”