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Room-Temperature Superconductivity Achieved for the First Time

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A team of physicists in New York has discovered a material that conducts electricity with perfect efficiency at room temperature — a long-sought scientific milestone. The hydrogen, carbon, and sulfur compound operates as a superconductor at up to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the team reported today in Nature. That’s more than 50 degrees hotter than the previous high-temperature superconductivity record set last year.

“This is the first time we can really claim that room-temperature superconductivity has been found,” said Ion Errea, a condensed matter theorist at the University of the Basque Country in Spain who was not involved in the work.

“It’s clearly a landmark,” said Chris Pickard, a materials scientist at the University of Cambridge. “That’s a chilly room, maybe a British Victorian cottage,” he said of the 59-degree temperature.

Yet while researchers celebrate the achievement, they stress that the newfound compound — created by a team led by Ranga Dias of the University of Rochester — will never find its way into lossless power lines, frictionless high-speed trains, or any of the revolutionary technologies that could become ubiquitous if the fragile quantum effect underlying superconductivity could be maintained in truly ambient conditions. That’s because the substance superconducts at room temperature only while being crushed between a pair of diamonds to pressures roughly 75% as extreme as those found in the Earth’s core.

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A pair of diamonds press from opposite directions against a black metal gasket containing a hydrogen-carbon-sulfur compound.

A novel metallic compound of hydrogen, carbon, and sulfur exhibited superconductivity at a balmy 59 degrees Fahrenheit when pressurized between a pair of diamond anvils.  J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

 

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Click the link below for the article:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/physicists-discover-first-room-temperature-superconductor-20201014/

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