A small piece of plutonium-cobaltpentagallium, a compound discovered two years ago at Los Alamos National Laboratory, could be the first in a line of materials with a new kind of superconductivity.

A small piece of plutonium-cobaltpentagallium, a compound discovered two years ago at Los Alamos National Laboratory, could be the first in a line of materials with a new kind of superconductivity.


They found evidence that magnetic fluctuations in the compound, rather than interactions mediated by small vibrations in the underlying crystal structure, causes the electron pairing responsible for superconductivity. The compound, first discovered at Los Alamos two years ago, has the highest transition temperature among actinidebased substances. That still means the compound must be cooled at least –400°F to become superconductive. Scientists hope that finding one unconventional superconductor means there are more out there.