By compressing simple molecule solids with hydrogen, the researchers create a new material that achieves superconductivity at room temperature. (Image credit: University of Rochester)
Researchers from the University of Rochester have created a new material that doesn't need to be super-cooled to achieve superconductivity. Above room temperature means anything above 320F, which is considered a fantastic feat in itself. In the researchers' case, they managed to attain a resistive-free flow of electrical current at 590F, making it a new world's record, smashing the previous record holder at -100F.
"Because of the limits of low temperature, materials with such extraordinary properties have not quite transformed the world in the way that many might have imagined. However, our discovery will break down these barriers and open the door to many potential applications," states Ranga Dias, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, physics, and astronomy at the University of Rochester. Those applications include upgraded power grids that won't bleed up to 200-megawatt hours of energy that generally occurs annually. It also includes a new method of propelling levitated trains, medical imaging at high-resolutions, and hyper-fast electronics.
To gain superconductivity at room temperature, the researchers' combined hydrogen with carbon and sulfur, which was then photochemically synthesized to produce a simple organic-derived carbonaceous sulfur hydride in a diamond anvil cell. That sulfur hydride material was then subjected to an extreme pressure of 39-million psi to produce superconductivity. The material created was also about the size of a single inkjet particle, meaning there are still many hurdles to overcome before it can be used in any application.
The researchers' next step is to find a way to create superconductive materials without needing those extreme pressures to produce the material in more significant volumes, making them economically viable.
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