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New high-Tc superconductors share magnetic properties with cuprates

There’s been another development in the nascent field of iron-based high-temperature superconductors, which were recently shown to be able to turn superconducting at the very respectable temperature of 55 K.

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US have used neutron beams to investigate the magnetic properties of the iron-based materials. They found that, at low temperatures and when undoped, the materials make a transition into an antiferromagnetic state in which magnetic layers are interspersed with non-magnetic layers. But when the materials are doped with fluorine to make them into high-temperature superconductors, this magnetic ordering is suppressed.

This is reminiscent of the behaviour of cuprates — the highest temperature superconductors known to-date. Is this more than a coincidence? We’ll have to wait and see.

The research is published online here in Nature.

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