Claims of Practical Room Temperature Superconductor

University of Rochester researchers claim they have created a superconducting material at both a temperature and pressure low enough for practical applications.

Ten thousand atmospheres of pressure is still manageable. These pressure are used in chip manufacturing.

NOTE: These researchers had issues proving a prior paper. They withheld data until they could get a patent.

“With this material, the dawn of ambient superconductivity and applied technologies has arrived,” according to a team led by Ranga Dias, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and of physics. In a paper in Nature, the researchers describe a nitrogen-doped lutetium hydride (NDLH) that exhibits superconductivity at 69 degrees Fahrenheit and 10 kilobars (145,000 pounds per square inch, or psi) of pressure.

Although 145,000 psi might still seem extraordinarily high (pressure at sea level is about 15 psi), strain engineering techniques routinely used in chip manufacturing, for example, incorporate materials held together by internal chemical pressures that are even higher.

These materials could enable:

* Power grids that transmit electricity without the loss of up to 200 million megawatt hours (MWh) of the energy that now occurs due to resistance in the wires
* Frictionless, levitating high-speed trains
* More affordable medical imaging and scanning techniques such as MRI and magnetocardiography
* Faster, more efficient electronics for digital logic and memory device technology
* Tokamak machines that use magnetic fields to confine plasmas to achieve fusion as a source of unlimited power

Observation of Conventional Near Room Temperature Superconductivity in Carbonaceous Sulfur Hydride

The phenomenon of high temperature superconductivity, approaching room temperature, has been realized in a number of hydrogen-dominant alloy systems under high pressure conditions1-12. A significant discovery in reaching room temperature superconductivity is the photo-induced reaction of sulfur, hydrogen, and carbon that initially forms of van der Waals solids at sub-megabar pressures. Carbonaceous sulfur hydride has been demonstrated to be tunable with respect to carbon content, leading to different superconducting final states with different structural symmetries. A modulated AC susceptibility technique adapted for a diamond anvil cell confirms a Tc of 260 kelvin at 133 GPa in carbonaceous sulfur hydride. Furthermore, direct synchrotron infrared reflectivity measurements on the same sample under the same conditions reveal a superconducting gap of ~85 meV at 100 K in close agreement to the expected value from Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) theory13-18. Additionally, x-ray diffraction in tandem with AC magnetic susceptibility measurements above and below the superconducting transition temperature, and as a function of pressure at 107-133 GPa, reveal the Pnma structure of the material is responsible for the close to room-temperature superconductivity at these pressures.

13 thoughts on “Claims of Practical Room Temperature Superconductor”

  1. I hope this turns out to be correct, because it will provide one more point of evidence as to what makes some compounds super-conduct. I suspect there are many compounds that are superconductors, it is just a matter of finding them.

  2. Hi, Brian, I miss one of the most important uses of superconductors in your text: To use it as grid accumulator in the form of coils (see Superconducting magnetic energy storage)

  3. these days verified lower temperatures for super conducting ceramic materials (mercury based cuprate: HgBa2Ca2Cu3O8 ~133K, oxocuprates: YBa2Cu3O7–𝑥 ~92K, Bi2Sr2Ca2Cu3O10 ~110K, magnesium diboride: highest temp for conventional materials ~39K) for standardized atmospheric surrounding pressures is around 133K (~ -220°F, -140°C) while (relatively cheap cooling structures with) liquified Nitrogen keeps systems at ~77K (~ -310°F, -190°C) and is ~>10times cheaper systems compared to liquid Helium (~4.2K) or Hydrogen ($?, ~21K), liquid carbon dioxide would require above ~195K; there’s increasing interest on partly ferric superconductors

  4. Hi Brian
    The main takeaway from this is that it’s potentially easier for other groups to verify their claim. If they can’t then it’ll turn into a dirty fight over scientific fraud, because this particular team has had issues before.

  5. Seems we are always getting close without getting there. First it was “high temperature” superconductors that aren’t really high, now it’s “low pressure” room temperature superconductors that aren’t really low.

    I don’t mean to dismiss it. There could be real “practical” uses for this and maybe increasing our understanding of superconductors will help us get to real practical materials that actually do open up all the promises that always just down the road. But it seems that the number of milestones is vast and there is no information about how close any of these destinations (superconductors, economical fusion, AGI, a theory of physics that perfectly unites relativity and quantum mechanics) actually are. I’m starting to get tired of milestones on a road that doesn’t get anywhere.

  6. You could build nuclear plants in the desolate places like northern Canada and send the electricity where it would be used.

    Not that Canada would do anything so sensible.

    • You could just build them a few metres underground. There aren’t many (populated) places that get over 20 C when you go down about 10 metres, and it’s consistent all year.

    • The sensible thing is to just build the nuclear plant near the electricity load. This would have the double advantage of little need for long electricity lines & make it possible to have district heating. Note that when 3 reactors melted down at Fukushima there were no deaths due to that (or 1 death very dubiously attributed to radiation).

      Look up Pickering Nuclear power plant on Google Maps. It is in the middle of Pickering, a suburb of Toronto.

  7. Silicon chips use Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition for strain layers. Apparently Perovskite solar cells can use PECVD at atmospheric pressure with roll to roll processing. The stress does tend to warp silicon chips if not controlled well, would be interesting to see if this would be suitable for cables.
    If there could be a superconducting silicon chip interconnect, this would break the thermal budget constraints and RC delay currently limiting microprocessor speeds. I have no idea how it could be done, but the industry loves challenges.

  8. The operating temperature of the device needs to be well below the critical temperature of the superconductor since a magnetic field, like that produced by current in the superconducting wire, lowers the temperature at which superconductivity disappears.
    A Tc of 260 K (-13 C) means the device that uses that superconductor still needs to be kept in a fairly deep freeze.

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