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Nature6 March 2003

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Superconductors: Cobalt oxides join the party

Since the discovery of high-temperature superconductivity in ceramics made of copper oxide with spacing layers of yttrium, barium or other metals, there has been an expectation that the oxides of other transition metals such as cobalt and nickel might also be superconductors. None of these other metal oxides has produced the goods — until now. Layered cobalt oxides are familiar in electronics components such as electrodes, but they are not superconducting. Until you add water. Some simple chemistry, adding an insulating layer of sodium ions and water molecules between CoO2 layers, transforms the material into a superconductor with a transition temperature of 5 K. This may be the first of a versatile range of superconductors, in which properties can be controlled by modifying the charge density in the oxide layers, and by adjusting the interlayer spacing.

letters to nature
Superconductivity in two-dimensional CoO2 layers
KAZUNORI TAKADA, HIROYA SAKURAI, EIJI TAKAYAMA-MUROMACHI, FUJIO IZUMI, RUBEN A. DILANIAN & TAKAYOSHI SASAKI
Nature 422, 53–55 (2003); doi:10.1038/nature01450
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