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Playing the Research Long Game Pays Off

Oct 11, 2016

Morr-Dirr_APSfellow2013A conjecture Professor Dirk Morr made nearly twenty years has recently been confirmed through a collaboration with the experimental neutron scattering group led by Pengcheng Dai at Rice University. In the late 1990s, Morr was a postdoctoral researcher studying copper-based superconductors at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. ​​At that time, researchers had not yet identified the microscopic mechanism behind this promising new class of superconductors. Morr suggested in a 1998 paper that magnetism was the key, and that neutron scattering experiments could uncover its unique signature. For the next twenty years, researchers around the world conducted experiments to establish the superconducting mechanism, but never observed the signature Morr proposed in that paper. 

Now, almost twenty years after the original conjecture, Morr's group at UIC and Dai's group at Rice have found th​e magnetic fingerprint they were ​hunting for in a group of different, but related, superconductors. This is a significant breakthrough in the quest for a practical superconductor. As Morr said, “Sometimes you have to hold your breath for a long time – but in the end, patience pays off.”

Read the full story at UIC News.  

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