Resolving thermoelectric “paradox” in superconductors

Science Advances  26 Feb 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 2, e1501250
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501250

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For almost a century, thermoelectricity in superconductors has been one of the most intriguing topics in physics. During its early stages in the 1920s, the mere existence of thermoelectric effects in superconductors was questioned. In 1944, it was demonstrated that the effects may occur in inhomogeneous superconductors. Theoretical breakthrough followed in the 1970s, when the generation of a measurable thermoelectric magnetic flux in superconducting loops was predicted; however, a major crisis developed when experiments showed puzzling discrepancies with the theory. Moreover, different experiments were inconsistent with each other. This led to a stalemate in bringing theory and experiment into agreement. With this work, we resolve this stalemate, thus solving this long-standing “paradox,” and open prospects for exploration of novel thermoelectric phenomena predicted recently.

  • physics
  • thermoelectricity
  • superconductors
  • quantum interference devices

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