Since its discovery in 2004, scientists have believed that graphene contained an innate ability to superconduct. Now researchers from the University of Cambridge have found a way to activate that previously dormant potential, enabling the material to carry an electrical current with zero resistance.

Graphene, a two-dimensional sheet of carbon atoms, is known for its strong, light, and flexible properties. By coupling the material with praseodymium cerium copper oxide (PCCO), the researchers discovered graphene's ability to superconduct in its own right.

PCCO is an oxide from a wider class of superconducting materials called “cuprates.”

Superconductors generate large magnetic fields and provide essential components for a range of technologies, from MRI scanners to levitating trains. The researchers suggest that graphene could now support new types of superconducting quantum devices for high-speed computing.

According to the team, the resulting graphene could someday be used to make a transistor-like device in a superconducting circuit.

“In principle, given the variety of chemical molecules that can bind to graphene’s surface, this research can result in the development of molecular electronics devices with novel functionalities based on superconducting graphene,” said lead researcher Dr Angelo Di Bernardo.


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