System Bits: July 29

Unlocking quantum glue for superconductivity; using 3D printing to develop human tissue.

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Cooper Pairs
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Cornell University and Brookhaven National Laboratory say they have unlocked what they’re calling quantum glue—the underlying basis for creating energy conduits without current loss.

In superconductors, electrical resistance vanishes below a critical temperature and conduction electrons form ordered pairs, known as Cooper pairs. And while lattice vibrations are still present, they can nudge electrons along rather than impeding their progress.

“For a long time, we were unable to develop a detailed theoretical understanding of this unconventional superconductor,” said Dirk Morr, professor of physics at the Univeristy of Illinois and principal investigator on the study. He noted that two crucial insights into the complex structure of CeCoIn5 were missing, the relation between the momentum and energy of electrons moving through the material, and the ‘quantum glue’ that binds the electrons into a Cooper pair.

By utilizing quasi-particle interference spectroscopy, they were able to precisely measure CeCoIn5 and predict a material’s superconducting properties. “We concluded that magnetism is the quantum glue underlying the emergence of unconventional superconductivity in CeCoin5,” he said.

Printing Human Tissue
A researcher at Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute won an award from the National Science Foundation for developing human tissue with 3D cell printing technology.

Guohao Dai, assistant professor in the department of biomedical engineering at RPI, has created a “vascular niche” that replicates the native environment of neural cells. This is a major step forward for neural cells. While they are being studied for their ability to treat disease and nervous system damage, they are rare and difficult to use in a laboratory because they quickly lose their potency outside of their native environment. Adding this vascular niche reduces that challenge significantly.

“Adult neural stem cells hold so much promise for treating injury and disease, but they are extremely difficult to work with,” Dai said. “We believe that we can apply 3-D tissue printing technology to create a vascular niche that will prolong the life of the cells and, in turn, enable new opportunities for studying how they may be used to treat injury and fight disease.”

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Source: RPI