A four-member team of scientists from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), has discovered superconductivity in bismuth. There cannot be immediate spin-offs to the discovery, and practical application in superconductivity comes 50 to 60 years after the discovery.
Materials like copper also conduct electricity, but energy is lost in the form of heat during conductivity. Therefore, the next step will be to discover bismuth-like materials that are new superconductors at higher temperatures that can bring about new applications.
“This discovery could lead to new superconductors operating at higher temperatures once the new theory is known. Those new superconductors operating above 100 Kelvin will cut down the cost of superconducting magnets so that MRI cost will come down from Rs 4,000 to Rs 400,” said Ramakrishnan, the lead investigator, Department of Condensed Matter Physics And Material Sciences, TIFR.