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.