UAntwerp researchers from the CMT group, Dr Jonas Bekaert and Prof Milorad Milosevic, in collaboration with Swedish researchers have predicted that a atomically thin layer of hydrogen will boost the critical temperature of a thin superconductor to above a hundred kelvin.
Hydrogen-rich bulk superconducting materials have recently exhibited record-breaking critical temperatures, nearing the ambient temperature and thereby promising a major technological impact on the society. However, these hydrides have the practical disadvantage of requiring extreme pressures to become superconducting.
As a novel exploration route, a team of scientists from Belgium and Sweden has envisaged a layer of hydrogen adatoms could strongly alter the electronic and vibrational features of an atomically thin material, thereby enhancing its phonon-mediated superconductivity.
This idea was tested on a monolayer of magnesium diboride, where hydrogenation was demonstrated to elevate the critical temperature of the superconducting state to above a hundred kelvin - several times higher than in the absence of hydrogen!
This new approach to achieve high-temperature superconductivity, requiring no external pressure, remains to be applied to a number of ultrathin materials synthesized to date, holding promise for radical breakthroughs in novel heterostructured functional materials and their practical applications.
This work as published in Phys. Rev. Lett. 123, 077001 (2019).