Japanese doctor turns hot toddy into superconductor catalyst
Christopher Trout|@Mr_Trout|January 13, 2011 8:16 AM
It's rare that hot booze does anything more than get you drunk, and possibly make you sick, but according to Dr. Yoshihiko Takano, the drink you're sucking on could facilitate the levitation of a train. After a party for a colleague, the Japanese scientist found that FeTe0.8S0.2 (composed of iron, tellurium, and tellurium sulfide), when soaked in warm booze overnight, shows signs of increased superconductivity -- another in a long line of liquor-enhanced discoveries that could have far reaching effects on everything from consumer electronics to public transportation. Dr. Takano decided to test the material (known to become a superconductor after soaking in water) in the leftover alcohol from the party: beer, red wine, white wine, sake, shochu, and whiskey. As it turns out, red wine has the highest superconducting volume fraction at 62.4 percent -- nearly four times higher than the ethanol-water control samples. Dr. Takano and his colleagues speculate that the ease with which wine and beer oxidize could be play a key role in the increase in superconductivity. We speculate that even a superconductor gets a little hopped up after soaking in a bottle of wine.