Recently, for the first time, physicists at the University of L’Aquila, Italy have found a complete microscopic understanding of the superconductivity of Mercury.
About Mercury’s superconductivity –
- In 1911, Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes discovered superconductivity in mercury.
- He found that at a very low temperature, called the threshold temperature, solid mercury offers no resistance to the flow of electric current.
- Scientists later classified mercury as a conventional superconductor because its superconductivity could be explained by the concepts of the Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) theory.
- In BCS superconductors, vibrational energy released by the grid of atoms encourages electrons to pair up, forming so-called Cooper pairs.
- These Copper pairs can move like water in a stream, facing no resistance to their flow, below a threshold temperature.
What is Superconductivity?
A material can conduct electricity without any resistance. It is observed in many materials when they are cooled below a critical temperature.
What is Mercury?
- It is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water and soil.
- It is released into the atmosphere through natural processes such as weathering of rocks, volcanic eruptions, geothermal activities, forest fires, etc.