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October 2001 - Nr. 10


The Editor
Thing of the Past
Antje berichtet
Sascha Lutz berichtet
Film Fest Notes
Film Festival
Four Generations
200 Years Newmarket
Ability School
Lulatsch 75 Years
Bucky Balls
Eco-friendly Food
Paintings returned
Scholarship Fund
2. Brief aus Kanada
3. Brief aus Kanada
Siegfried & Roy
Illinois Greetings
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Castles & Coziness
Spas in Germany
Gretzky & Neumann

German Physicist Says "Bucky Balls" May Form Next Low-Cost Superconductor

  TWIG - A research team led by Konstanz physicist Jan Handrik Schoen has announced that carbon molecules shaped like soccer balls may be the ticket to conducting electricity inexpensively. Carbon molecules known as bucky balls can conduct electricity with no resistance at temperatures up to 117 Kelvin (-249 degrees Fahrenheit), the group reported August 30 in the on-line issue of the U.S. journal Science. That is more than double the temperature used successfully in previous superconductor experiments.

Most superconductors only function at temperatures near absolute zero, or -460 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes them costly. Copper-oxide superconductors work at higher temperatures but are also expensive, as well as brittle and difficult to work with. Bucky ball crystals may be the answer, says Schoen. "We hope these results may lead to an organic electronics with no power loss someday in the future."

Schoen’s team made crystals by mixing bucky balls, or fullerene, with molecules of chloroform and bromoform. (Bucky balls are named for American inventor R. Buckminster Fuller, whose trademark design, the geodesic dome, they resemble.) After "stretching" the carbon crystals in this way--creating more space between bucky balls and thus lowering their electronic and molecular attraction to each other--the scientists connected them to an electronic device known as a field effect transistor, whereby they were able to produce superconductivity at record-breaking temperatures. The experiment, carried out at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, could lead to cheaper technology, since the cooling needed for super conduction could be accomplished by means of liquid nitrogen, rather than more expensive liquid helium.

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