'Tis the season to be pickling your liver in alcohol. And, it turns out, soaking stuff in booze has a salubrious effect besides making people happy. Apparently, it can make materials superconductive.
Research in Japan shows that a soaking in commercial alcohol can turn down the dial on at least one material's electrical conductivity to zero. Yoshihiko Takano and colleagues at the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) outside Tokyo published research describing how booze can induce superconductivity in an iron-tellurium-based substance.
The material isn't normally superconductive, but can be after immersion in an alcoholic beverage heated to about 70 Celsius (158 Fahrenheit). The team then compared the effectiveness of various drinks, including red wine, sake, beer, and shochu (a distilled beverage), and found that red wine was best in inducing superconductivity.
The bizarre result followed experiments by Takano and colleagues in which accidental exposure of the iron compound to air turned it into a superconductor. Other experiments found that soaking the material in water did the trick.
When a fellow superconductivity researcher visited for a lecture, Takano organized a party and wondered whether the sake and beer they were knocking back might also work.… Read more