Physicists studying superconductivity strive to create a clean, pure, perfect sample, but a new study shows that some flaws might hold the key to a material’s unique abilities.
“We want to move beyond trying to get rid of disorder, striving for unattainable purity in the materials we examine, and instead take the disorder into account and use it to our advantage,” says Erica Carlson, associate professor of physics at Purdue University.
“These little patches of imperfection where things aren’t lined up in a perfect crystal lattice are important, and old methods that overlooked them fail to capture important physics. The flaws in the lines are like a fingerprint. They reveal the identity deeper inside.”
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