Bloomberg the Company & Products

Bloomberg Anywhere Login

Bloomberg

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.

Company

Financial Products

Enterprise Products

Media

Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000

Communications

Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Businessweek Archives

The `Buckyball' Throws A New Curve At Scientists


Developments to Watch

THE `BUCKYBALL' THROWS A NEW CURVE AT SCIENTISTS

Buckyballs are on a roll. Last year, scientists learned how to make this class of unusual molecules that each contain 60 carbon atoms, arranged in a form resembling Buckminster Fuller's geodesic domes. Chemists sought to develop uses for these, including superslippery lubricants. Then in early April, scientists at AT&T Bell Labs announced that thin films made from these exotic materials could conduct electricity.

Now, the Bell Lab researchers have made an even more startling finding. When just the right amount of potassium is added to these thin films, the buckyballs become superconductors at temperatures as high as 18 degrees above absolute zero. That's not nearly as warm as the new wave of high-temperature superconductors but is far higher than scientists had expected, based on the properties of another form of carbon, graphite. Scientists don't foresee any immediate practical applications, but the discovery poses an intriguing challenge to theoretical physicists, who now want to discover precisely how the superconductivity occurs.EDITED BY WILLIAM D. MARBACH


LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW
 
blog comments powered by Disqus