High Temperature Superconductivity at 2 Million Time Pressure

Metallic, hydrogen-rich compounds become superconducting at very high pressures.

Russell Hemley and his group at George Washington University measured significant drops in resistivity when the sample cooled below 260 K (minus 13 C, or 8 F) at 180-200 gigapascals of pressure, presenting evidence of superconductivity at near-room temperature. In subsequent experiments, the researchers saw the transition occurring at even higher temperatures, up to 280 K. Throughout the experiments, the researchers also used X-ray diffraction to observe the same phenomenon.

They are confident many other hydrides—or superhydrides—will be found with even higher transition temperatures under pressure.

Physical Review Letters – Evidence for Superconductivity above 260 K in Lanthanum Superhydride at Megabar Pressures.

Other researchers at Berkeley and other places believe the high pressure high-temperature superconductors will help us understand superconductors at higher temperatures but ambient pressures.

SOURCES – Arxiv, Physical Review Letters, George Washington University

Written By Brian Wang

11 thoughts on “High Temperature Superconductivity at 2 Million Time Pressure”

  1. As I’ve remarked before, if they can get it a bit lower, you might design a highly strained molecule where part of the molecule keeps the rest in sufficient compression to be superconducting.

    Mind, I wouldn’t want to be around such a superconducting magnet if it had a quench accident. “It’s a superconductor! It’s an explosive! No, it’s two, two, two molecules in one!”

  2. Even better, NOBODY gets to decide.

    Each little decision group only gets to say what they are going to work on.

    If someone wants to fund and work on something, then (ruling out obviously unethical stuff like human experimentation) they are free to waste their own resources on what might turn out to be critical.

  3. I’m convinced he’s seeing a real phenomenon, but it’s not necessarily superconductivity.

    I suspect that on some level he has doubts it’s superconductivity, too, because he’s never just taken one of his samples, ground it up, and tried to isolate a superconducting fraction, though this should be fairly straightforward to do due to superconductors’ perfect diamagnetism. Failing to do the decisive test is usually an indication of doubt you’re looking at the real thing, maybe unconscious doubt, but doubt.

    But I do find his work interesting, and think it’s more likely to be productive of something useful than diamond anvil work. At least he’s testing things that don’t require insane conditions to work; A superconductor that works at room temperature at 2 million atmospheres is pretty darned useless.

    I do wish I had the equipment to replicate his work, it could be fun to subject these materials to such tests.

  4. The first high pressure room temp superconductivity results were what? A year ago? And they needed 800 GPa. Dropping it by a factor of 4 in 12 months is going a LONG way to making this useable.

    For the record, the strength of diamond is 130 GPa. So now we are down to a diamond pipe with wall thickness only equal to the internal diameter. Still not a functional thing, but improving by another factor of 4 drops it to the point where it might just be possible to make something.

  5. Joe Eck has been claiming results with room temp and above superconductivity for several years now.

    Each year that goes by without someone making a billion dollars from the obvious applications of such a material increased my scepticism about the validity.

    I’m not yet prepared to rule it out, but the P(this is real) number is steadily eroding.

  6. It’s certainly a good thing that the least competent people don’t get to decide which knowledge is useless and thus not worthy of persuit.

  7. For all intents and purposes it is entirely unpractical and just another interesting piece of useless knowledge, but for the last paragraph:
    “Other researchers at Berkeley and other places believe the high pressure high-temperature superconductors will help us understand superconductors at higher temperatures but ambient pressures.”

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