We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,258 News Articles

Super PC now much closer

Everyday chemical has irresistible properties

High-speed computers that run a thousand times faster than today’s top-notch machines could be on the cards after researchers in Tokyo discovered an off-the-shelf metallic material that can act as a superconductor.

Superconducting circuits can run about 1,000 times as fast as conventional CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) circuits because they offer no resistance to the flow of electricity. But superconductors exist only in laboratory conditions because they need to be artificially cooled to temperatures within a few degrees of absolute zero, or -273 degrees Celsius.

Scientists have spent decades searching for elusive high-temperature superconductors, so called because they could transmit currents without resistance at room temperature or near to it. The best achieved so far is a complex ceramic that retains its superconducting properties up to -139 degrees Celsius.

Researchers at Aoyama-Gakuin University in Tokyo have discovered that an extremely common and simple chemical - magnesium diboride - shows very promising superconducting characteristics, an article in science journal Nature reported.

Scientists hope the compound will provide a new starting point in the search for high-temperature superconductors, having reached a near dead-end with the ceramic materials.

Commenting in science journal Nature one scientist said the discovery was "stunning", adding that a simple compound that comes out of a bottle and shows a "gigantically high critical temperature" is an exciting combination.

The Nature article was pre-posted on the Web and will appear in the 1 March issue of the journal.

IDG UK Sites

Apple promises developers better stability, performance for Swift

IDG UK Sites

Why Apple is/isn’t building a car: statement of facts

IDG UK Sites

Sarofsky Corp mixes media for animated alcohol ad

IDG UK Sites

Apple Watch release date & UK price rumours: Watch event announced for 9 March