Mazin conducting collaborative research on Engineering Novel Superconductors
Igor Mazin, Professor of Practice for Advanced Studies in Theoretical Physics, Quantum Science and Engineering Center, Physics and Astronomy, received funding for a project in which Mason researchers will collaborate with SUNY Binghamton researchers to develop a framework for predicting novel ambient-pressure high-temperature (high-Tc) superconductors using first-principles calculations and machine learning.
First-principles calculations are methods of calculating physical properties without any experimental input.
Recently, room-temperature superconductivity, a Holy Grail for energy applications and electronics, was reported - but only at impractically high pressures exceeding the pressure in the Earth's core. This project is high-risk, high-payoff effort funded under the NSF's "EARLY-CONCEPT GRANTS FOR EXPLORATORY RESEARCH" program.
Mazin said this project is important because "Superconducting cables can carry electricity without any losses. Currently, up to 40 percent of power is lost in transmission. Existing high-temperature superconductors can work at temperatures of -200 degrees Celsius, that is, inside the liquefied natural gas pipelines, but they include expensive rare earth elements and cannot be manufactured in the form of wires and tapes, so they are not usable. The concept of 'doped covalent bonds' superconductors has the potential to generate very different materials with the same working temperatures but that are inexpensive and malleable. Such materials would revolutionize the power industry and save billions of dollars and megatons of carbon emissions, apart from multiple other applications. Thus, this project is classified as high payoff, but also high risk, since it is [only] a theoretical concept now, and is funded as EXPLORATORY research."
Mazin will provide theoretical guidance for the machine-learning search and first-principles calculations of the superconducting temperature led by Alexey Kolmogorov and Roxana Margine, Associate Professors of Physics at SUNY Binghamton.
Mazin will receive $36,036 per year from the National Science Foundation for this project. Funding will begin in September 2021 and will end in late August 2023. If this exploratory project proves successful, this group of researchers will receive full regular funding for the next three years.