Country for PR: Japan
Contributor: Kyodo News JBN
Tuesday, November 24 2020 - 17:00
"If You Don't Shoot the Arrow, It Doesn't Hit the Target"--Interview with WPI-MANA Researcher
TSUKUBA, Japan, Nov. 24, 2020 /Kyodo JBN- AsiaNet/ --

With their ability to transport electricity without loss and at zero 
resistance, superconductors are a technology that could solve a host of 
environmental and energy problems. The Nano Frontier Superconducting Materials 
Group at MANA, led by Prof. Yoshihiko Takano, is focusing on the physical 
properties of high-temperature superconductors, as well as magnetic 
refrigeration materials and other functional materials. The group is also 
developing cables incorporating new superconducting materials. Recently, they 
have been searching for new substances by utilizing machine learning, and have 
discovered a series of new superconductors as they work toward the ultimate 
goal: room-temperature superconductivity. 

Currently, this research requires extremely low temperatures and extremely high 
pressures. So the team is also developing artificial intelligence for materials 
search as well as high-pressure technologies.


Q: What inspired you to enter the field of superconductivity?

"When I began my university studies in Japan, superconductivity was being 
talked about as a key technology to solve the world's energy problems. So I 
decided to enter the field. I initially worked on high-temperature 
superconducting cuprates."

"Later I moved to the Institute of Solid-State Physics (ISSP) at the University 
of Tokyo, where I started a small project to investigate new materials, and 
discovered the niobium oxide superconductor KCa2Nb3O10. I put this material 
into an n-butyllithium liquid and kept it there for a few days; the material 
integrated, and gradually became superconducting."

"Superconductivity is of course a physical property, but the reaction between 
liquid and a solid is soft chemistry. So, by using a combination of physics and 
soft chemistry, I was able to find this new material. Many people who read my 
paper called the material a 'tsukemono chodendo-tai,' meaning pickled 

Q: You are famous for discovering a new superconductor using red wine. What 
made you think of that?

"Well, we could have used soft drinks or soy sauce or something...."

Click the link below to read the whole article.


MANA International Symposium 2021

SOURCE: International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (WPI-MANA), 
National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS)