For a long time, superconducting materials have been divided into two distinct types: s-wave and d-wave. A team of British researchers has managed to discover a potential third type in the form of g-wave.
Electrons which travel through superconductors are able to form Cooper pairs. The pairing nets them the impressive capability of having no electrical resistance due to the power of the bond, which requires exposure to energy to be broken. As such, superconductive materials will retain superconductivity for a long time.
Anticipating a new state
Classic s-wave superconductors include materials like tin, mercury, and lead, facilitating the formation of electron pairs where one member points up and the other points down while they move in the same direction without the presence of angular momentum. In the case of d-wave conductors, two quanta of angular momentum are present.
Some physicists have argued that a third type of superconductors could exist in the middle ground between s-wave and d-wave superconductors, featuring quanta of angular momentum and electrons with parallel spin. Such an electron would have facilitated the creation of Majorana fermions, particles that can also be antiparticles at the same time.
Spotting a new type
A team of researchers decided to see of strontium ruthenate, the prime candidate for a p-wave superconductor, does have the traits required to be classified as one. Investigations made with high-resolution ultrasound spectroscopy tools have revealed the potential of a new superconductor called g-wave.
The main scientists who contributed to the research have stated that the discovery is quite surprising, as it opens a lot of possibilities related to the traits and manifestations of a superconductor. If science can learn to control and adapts superconductors of technological use, new and improved devices could be created.
Further research will take place in the future, and the current results have been published in a scientific journal.