Scientists at the Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (FZD) research facility have announced a world first in superconductivity.
Previous it has been impossible to achieve superconductivity with elements like copper, silver, gold and the semiconductor germanium, which was the material for the first generation of transistors until it was replaced by silicon.
Today, extremely thin oxide layers are needed for transistors, down to a level of miniaturisation at which silicon oxide becomes ineffective.
However, researchers at FZD believe they have overcome this by doping germanium with six gallium atoms per 100 germanium atoms, demonstrating that the doped germanium layer of only 60 nanometres thickness became superconducting.
The new material exhibits a high critical magnetic field and has the potential to enable faster processes and further miniaturisation, paving the way for the next generation of computers.
Earlier this year the FZD unveiled a new approach to high-density magnetic data storage by using a focused ion beam to irradiate an iron-aluminium alloy in such a way that only the treated zones became ferromagnetic.