In a first, scientists from Japan have used alcoholic drinks such as red wine and sake to induce superconductivity.
Scientists from the National Institute for Materials Science, Japan, found that immersing pellets of an iron-based compound in heated alcoholic beverages for 24 hours greatly increase their superconducting ability.
Usually, iron-based compounds exhibit this property after being exposed to air but it takes a very long time. This study demonstrated that superconductivity can be induced in just one day.
They immersed the iron-based compounds in red and white wine, beer, Japanese sake, shochu, and whisky heated them at 70oC for 24 hours, and then analysed them.
Red wine was shown to induce the best superconducting properties; however beverages with the same alcohol concentration showed a significant difference.
This indicates that it’s not the alcohol that contributes to superconductivity but another component present in the beverages.
Iron-based compounds undergo a process called magnetic order whereby the molecules align in a regular pattern. To achieve superconductivity, magnetic order must be suppressed. In order to become superconductive, the elements in the iron-based compounds must be substituted with elements present in alcohol.
An alternative theory is that the alcoholic beverages help to supply oxygen into the sample, which in turn causes superconductivity.
A more detailed analysis will help the team identify the key factor in inducing superconductivity.