The electrons in each Cooper pair are arranged so that their composite angular momentum is zero. Each electron has an angular momentum, the so-called spin, with a value of 1/2.
The results achieved by this research team headed by Prof. Kurt Westerholt and Prof. Hartmut Zabel (Department of Physics and Astronomy at RUB) could contribute to new, power saving components in the future. The researchers reported on their findings in the American Physical Society's noted journal "The Physical Review".
If a superconductor is brought into contact with a ferromagnetic material, the Cooper pairs are broken up along the shortest path and the superconductor becomes a normal conductor.
Superconductors allow us to produce highly sensitive detectors for magnetic fields, which even allow detection of magnetic fields resulting from brain waves. These detectors are called SQUID's (superconducting quantum interference devices) - components which use the superconductive quantum properties.
If part of the tunnel barrier is replaced by a ferromagnetic layer, the Cooper pairs are broken up while they are still in the barrier and do not reach the superconductor on the other side. The tunnel current decreases drastically.