|Researchers have long known that both superconducting and normal currents can leak back and forth between adjacent layers of superconducting material and metal. In copper-based ceramic superconductors, made up of many different elements, superconductivity varies within nanometers depending on which atoms are nearby. These tiny regions can influence each other in much the same way that thin layers of metal and superconductor interact.|
Now a collaboration of researchers from Princeton University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry in Japan has used Scanning Tunneling Microscopy to investigate for the first time how this happens on the nanoscale. As they warmed a superconducting sample, they saw that superconductivity died out at different temperatures in regions just a few nanometers apart.