The Properties and Multi-band Superconductivity of Magnesium Boride

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What is Magnesium Boride?

Magnesium boron diboride is an ionic complex with a hexagonal crystalline structure. It is a compound of intercalation with alternate layers of magnesium, and boron.

Researchers discovered in the year 2001 that magnesium Diboride, a seemingly inconspicuous material, becomes a Superconductor near 40K (i.e. -233degC) at temperatures slightly below. Its working temperature ranges from 2030K, which is twice the temperature of other superconductors. You can use liquid hydrogen, liquid nitrogen, or closed-cycle refrigeration to reach this temperature. These methods are easier and cheaper than industrial cooling of niobium alloys (4K), which uses liquid helium. When magnesium boride is doped either with carbon or another impurity, it can be as superconductive as niobium or even more so in the presence magnetic fields or currents. Applications include superconducting magnetic fields, power transmission cables, and sensitive magnet field detectors.

Superconductivity Research in Multi-Band

Metal materials are often characterized by multi-bands and multi-Fermi noodles. As the material enters a superconducting condition, the superconducting surface energy gap will be opened. This leads to multiple energy gaps. Due to extremely strong interband scattering, the multiband effect in superconducting materials is greatly diminished. However, in some superconducting materials with quasi-two-dimensional characteristics, multi-band and multi-gap effects will appear due to the orthogonality of the electron motion wave functions above different energy bands. Iron-based superconductors, which were recently discovered, also show this multiband phenomenon. It is a current important direction in superconducting material and physics research.

Magnesium diboride can be described as a superconductor with multiple bands. It has two electron-type band p, one hole type band p and one hole type p. Due to the special configuration of the Fermi surface (the p band is three-dimensional and the s band is quasi-two-dimensional), its The wave vectors of electrons in different energy bands are in an orthogonal state, so that the inter-band scattering is not very strong, which makes the superconductor’s multi-band characteristics outstanding. Hall effect is an effective way to detect the number of carriers and changes in scattering rate. By combining magnetoresistance, and Hall effect we can calculate the scattering rate for electrons within different energy bands.

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