The Mysterious Matryoshka of Physics
“What seemed to be flaws in the structure of a mystery metal may have given physicists a glimpse into as-yet-undiscovered laws of the universe.
The qualities of a high-temperature superconductor — a compound in which electrons obey the spooky laws of quantum physics, and flow in perfect synchrony, without friction — appear linked to the fractal arrangements of seemingly random oxygen atoms.
Those atoms weren’t thought to matter, especially not in relation to the behavior of individual electrons, which exist at a scale thousands of times smaller. The findings, published Aug. 12 in Nature, are a physics equivalent of discovering a link between two utterly separate dimensions.”
Inexplicable Superconductor Fractals Hint at Higher Universal Laws – Wired Science
“Superconductivity, where a material conducts electricity at very low temperature with no resistance, and therefore transmission wastes virtually no energy, has applications ranging from medical scanners to maglev trains.
Until now, scientists have focused on atomic-scale phenomena to explain this mysterious property of some special compounds.
But in this week’s Nature, UCL researchers from the London Centre for Nanotechnology, working with collaborators in Rome and Grenoble, report that the strength of the superconductivity – its ability to persist as temperature is increased– correlates in certain oxide materials with structures visible over a range of length scales. Intriguingly, these structures extend almost to the millimeter scale, and have a “fractal” nature, similar to the intricate patterns in a snowflake.”