Researchers from George Washington University, Carnegie Institution and Argonne National Laboratory have announced a major advance in the search for room temperature superconductivity – yet only by changing extreme temperatures to extreme pressure.
Superconductivity Is Effective Physical Holy Grail: Without the usual electrical resistance losses, devices built from superconducting materials – from computers to national electricity networks – would operate at incredible levels of efficiency. Unfortunately, there is a small shortage of superconducting materials available but all share a slight disadvantage: the requirement to be cooled to almost absolute zero -273.1
A research group claims to have made significant progress towards room temperature superconductors, however, with the development of a material that retains its superconducting ability as high as -13 ° C – as close to the actual room temperature as ever achieved and a significant improvement of the previous efforts to heat things above -180 ° C. There is only one small catch: The material is about the need to be kept at very low temperatures so that the need to be kept at very high pressures of about two millions of atmospheres.
Superconductivity is perhaps one of the last major limits of scientific discovery that can exceed everyday technological applications, "Associated Research Professor Maddury Somayazulu explains of the team's performance. Room temperature superconductivity has been the gentle "holy grail" waiting to be found, and achieving it – albeit in two million atmospheres – is a paradigm changing moment in the history of science. 19659003] We believe that this is the beginning of a new era of superconductivity, "joins Professor Russell Hemley. We have investigated only one chemical system – the rare earth La plus hydrogen. There are additional structures in this system, but more significant are many other hydrogen-rich materials such as these with various chemical compositions to explore. We are convinced that many other hydrides – or superhydrides – will be found with even higher transition temperatures under pressure.
The work of the team took diamond muscle cells and used them to squeeze small samples of lanthanum and hydrogen, which were then heated while changes in their structure were observed. The result: LaH10, which at high pressure maintenance showed superconductivity when cooled to the impressive -13 ° C hot temperature – with subsequent test detection, could be assembled in at least temporary superconductivity at temperatures as high as 6.85 ° C. 19659003] The work of the team will not leave the loss yet: The researchers have stated that they hope to develop a deeper understanding of the superconductors' underlying physics to understand its many practical applications . Meanwhile, research has been published in Physical Review Letters journal as " Proof of superconductivity over 260 K in Lanthanum Superhydride at Megabar Pressures, ", which is available for open access through arXiv.org (PDF warning).