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Dr Suchitra Sebastian

Dr Suchitra Sebastian

Creating the Next Generation of Superconductors
Sustainable energy is one of the foremost challenges of the next few decades. Once created, alternative energy must be transported to the most densely populated cities where it is ultimately required. Energy grids, however, are already near capacity, and creative solutions are crucial to cope with the anticipated vastly increased demand for energy transmission. Superconducting materials are a promising solution, with more than hundred times the current-carrying capacity of traditional materials such as copper – yet existing superconductors are limited to temperatures below -100°C. A grand challenge is to discover a next generation of superconductors that operate near room temperatures. The current best known superconductors have the unique property of evolving out of parent large gap insulators on the introduction of charge carriers by chemical substitution, providing a clue to the discovery of new families of superconductors. Yet a roadblock to discovering new and better superconductors is the near impossibility of chemical substitution to introduce charge carriers into other families of large gap insulators. My proposal with this Fellowship will use the novel method of applying an electric field gradient instead of chemical substitution to induce charge carriers in large gap insulators, and thereby create new superconductors. This will set us on a path toward discovering room temperature superconductors – providing a boon to sustainable energy solutions of the future.

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