Angle Dependent Magnetoresistance in Tl_2Ba_2CuO_6+d
Working with my advisor Prof. Nigel Hussey and other scientists around the world, work for my thesis involved making measurements of the electrical resistivity of small (approx 0.2mm x 0.2mm x 0.01mm) samples of the cuprate superconductor Tl_2Ba_2CuO_6+d at very low temperatures (4.2K/-269°C) and very high magnetic fields. Most of the work was performed at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida as they have the strongest continuous field in the world at 45T. With this work it was hoped to gain a deeper understanding of these amazing materials which loose their electrical resistance when cooled below a critical temperature.
Unfortunately the only materials known to superconduct at the moment only do so when they are cooled to many hundreds of degrees below the freezing point of water. My work was part of an intense international effort to try to uncover the secrets of these materials in the hope of designing one which can superconduct at room temperature.
If a room temperature superconductor can be found it will find many applications in everyday life such as transmitting electricity with 100% efficiency from a far off renewable energy source (e.g. solar power station in north Africa) to western Europe. Additionally it could be used to make a train levitate above the track, reducing friction and providing a smooth ride.
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