David Kirkpatrick

February 5, 2010

Graphane the superconductor

Back-to-back single-atom layer sheets of carbon nanotech posts today. Graphene and now graphane. (Hit this link for all my graphene blogging and this one for graphane blogging.)

I’m just going to let this physics arXiv blog post do the explaining on this news:

New calculations reveal that p-doped graphane should superconduct at 90K, making possible an entirely new generation of devices cooled by liquid nitrogen.

There’s a problem with high temperature superconductors. It’s now more than two decades since the discovery that certain copper oxides can superconduct at temperatures above 30 K.

And:

The implications of all this are astounding. First up is the possibility of useful superconducting devices cooled only by liquid nitrogen. At last!

But there’s another, more exotic implication: by creating transistor-like gates out of graphane doped in different ways, it should be possible to create devices in which the superconductivity can be switched on and off. That’ll make possible an entirely new class of switch.

Before all of that, however, somebody has to make p-doped graphane. That will be hard. Graphane itself was made for the first time only last year at the University of Manchester. It should be entertaining to follow the race to make and test a p-doped version.