Ultraconductors are patented1 polymers being developed for commercial applications by Room Temperature Superconductors Inc (ROOTS). The materials exhibit a characteristic set of properties including conductivity and current carrying capacity equivalent to superconductors, but without the need for cryogenic support.
The Ultraconductor properties appear in thin (5 - 100 micron) films of certain dielectric polymers following an induced, non-reversible transition at zero field and at ambient temperatures >> 300 K. This transition resembles a formal insulator to conductor (I-C) transition.
The base polymers used are certain viscous polar elastomers, obtained by polymerization in the laboratory or as purchased from industrial suppliers. Seven chemically distinct polymers have been demonstrated to date.
The transition is induced by mild ionization of the films by various methods. It occurs in connection with a relatively slow (hours to days, depending upon the volume) electronic phase separation of the materials. The separation produces two components, a) a near-perfect dielectric bulk phase and b) a highly localized phase having mean charge concentration about 1020 cm-3 or more. The charge-rich phase of the polymer is highly organized and durable, and exhibits a characteristic set of anomalous properties.
After ionization, the film initially exhibits a growing ferromagnetism (more correctly, a superparamagnetism, as measured by magnetic susceptometer), which plateaus at values corresponding to a spin polarized mean charge concentration (for the whole polymer volume) as high as ~ 1018 to 1019 cm-3. This feature is considered to indicate collective quantum mechanical behavior.
Subsequently, discrete microscopic structures - the localized phase - can be observed and imaged (for example, by AFM and EFM) as randomly distributed in the bulk material. A proportion of these structures, typically 1 - 2 microns diameter, extends from substrate to film surface, and can also be electrically contacted. These structures exhibit a characteristic set of measured properties, including highly anisotropic conductivity > 1011 S/cm; current densities > 5 x 108 A/cm2; a zero Seebeck coefficient over the temperature range 87 - 233K; a six orders of magnitude violation of the Wiedemann Franz law; and a near-instantaneous transition to high resistivity at a critical current. The polymers’ conductivity is not measurably temperature dependent over the range 1.8 - 700K, and is stable in magnetic fields at least as high as 9 Tesla.
IR spectroscopy of the post-transition films shows them to be chemically unchanged from the base polymer; that is, the new structures are composed of the same molecular material as the bulk, which remains insulating.
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