Room-Temperature Superconductivity achieved for the first time

The goal of new research led by Ranga Dias, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and of physics and astronomy, is to develop superconducting materials at room temperatures. Currently, extreme cold is required to achieve superconductivity, as demonstrated in this photo from Dias's lab, in which a magnet floats above a superconductor cooled with liquid nitrogen. Credit: University of Rochester / J. Adam Fenster

A team of physicists at University of Rochester has discovered a material that conducts electricity with perfect efficiency at room temperature. The hydrogen, carbon and sulfur compound operates as a superconductor at up to 59 degrees Fahrenheit and a pressure of about 39 million psi. That’s more than 50 degrees hotter than the previous high-temperature superconductivity record set last year.

In setting the new record, the team combined hydrogen with carbon and sulfur to photochemically synthesize simple organic-derived carbonaceous sulfur hydride in a diamond anvil cell, a research device used to examine minuscule amounts of materials under extraordinarily high pressure. 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.

Materials scientists now face the challenge of discovering a superconductor that operates not only at normal temperatures but under everyday pressures, too. Certain features of the new compound raise hopes that the right blend of atoms could someday be found. (QuantaMagazine)

The paper has been published in Nature.

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