Now that superconductors are making a comeback with some new developments, Herbert is back on the cutting edge.
“I’m looking at ways superconductors go superconducting in two dimensions, where electrons are moving in one plane up and down or forward and backward,” he says. “It means we can control them.” So when he’s not teaching, Herbert is sending electric currents through superconductors of different shapes.
“I’m studying the behavior of the current as I adjust the shape of the array,” Herbert says. The down side is they work only at super-low temperatures—absolute zero or negative 450 degrees Fahrenheit—where current meets no electrical resistance. The more that is learned about superconducting behavior, he says, the sooner we may see technologies like cheaper energy to heat our homes and quantum computers—super-complex machines based not on today’s binary computing but on multi-state quantum theory.