Here is another negative resistance article;
Human Interest Headlines
Friday July 10 12:35 PM EDT
Holy Grail of electricity claimed
LAS VEGAS, Nev., July 10 (UPI) - Scientists say they have
found a way to produce a major facet of superconductivity
at room temperature, one that in the past could only
exist at temperatures hundreds of degrees below zero.
The feature is called zero resistance, and it allows
electricity to flow freely for long distances without
losing its power along the way, say investigators
from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Research leader Deborah D. L. Chung says she has
created zero resistance ``without cooling and without
a superconducting material.''
She used common carbon fiber composites _ lightweight,
strong materials found in everything from airplane
wings and helicopter blades to tennis rackets.
If the preliminary findings pan out, this could lead
to faster, better electrical devices and computers,
says the scientist.
With her new technique, Chung says, ``We have already
seen exact zero electrical resistance at room temperature.''
But, experts in the field are extremely skeptical,
saying that even the basic premise is physically
Chung says the heart of her discovery is a peculiar
phenomenon called negative resistance, which
occurs when electrons appear to travel in the
wrong direction, something experts say is as
unnatural as water spontaneously reversing course
and flowing upstream.
In Chung's laboratory, it occurred when two
layers of carbon materials were fused at high
pressures,causing electrons to appear to go the
wrong way at the junction point, she explains. She
does not know why it happened.
When combined with other materials with positive
resistance, the scientists came up with zero
resistance, she says.
In a presentation Thursday at a scientific meeting
in Las Vegas, she said, ``Zero resistance means
superconduction at room temperature.''
The scientists have filed a patent on the invention.
She points out that her research has not yielded a
new superconductor, because superconductors have other
properties, like magnetic fields, that are lacking in
But, she adds, ``in terms of zero resistance it is
like superconduction, in spite of the fact that this
is not technically a superconductor.'' Chung says
she stumbled upon negative resistance about a year ago.
At first she did not believe it, ignoring it as a
mistake in her measurements. But when the same readings
continued to come up month after month, she decided that
she had to look into it.
Superconductivity specialists are extremely skeptical
about the finding.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientist Richard
Kerchner says, ``Negative resistance is not possible.
It makes no sense.''
He says that the scientists were probably observing
a mechanical- electrical effect, that gave the illusion
of negative resistance.
Since 1986, scientists have yelled ``Eureka'' over
superconduction at room temperature a few times,
only to be disappointed.
David K. Christen, another superconductivity
specialist at Oak Ridge, says that ``every one of
Based on the history, he says, ``I'm extremely skeptical.''
Superconductivity now has limited applications _
such as medical imaging machines and experimental
high-speed trains designed to speed along on magnetic
The stumbling block has been the need to use
super-cool materials. So getting superconductors to
work at higher and higher temperatures has been an
intense research area, with a room temperature
superconductor as the Holy Grail.
Researchers at the meeting say the discovery is so
new and surprising, that they have not had time to
muse upon potential applications.
Jason Lo of the Canada Center for Minerals and
Energy Technology in Ottawa, says, ``We are still
in the shock phase.''
He says what the scientists have observed is like
``instead of seeing water flowing downhill, they are
seeing water flowing uphill.''
Lo says that the finding is preliminary, but if it
can be confirmed and successfully applied, ``I can
assure you this is going to be very significant.''
He says, ``Here we are talking about a new phenomenon.''
(Written by Mara Bovsun in New York City)
Copyright 1998 by United Press International All rights reserved
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