Superconductivity is the lack of electrical resistance and is observed in many materials when they are cooled below a critical temperature. Until now, superconducting materials were thought to have to cool to very low temperatures (minus 180 degrees Celsius or minus 292 degrees Fahrenheit), which limited their application. Since electrical resistance makes a system inefficient, eliminating some of this resistance by utilizing room temperature superconductors would allow for more efficient generation and use of electricity, enhanced energy transmission around the world and more powerful computing systems.
"Superconductivity is perhaps one of the last great frontiers of scientific discovery that can transcend to everyday technological applications," Maddury Somayazulu, an associate research professor at the GW School of Engineering and Applied Science, said. "Room temperature superconductivity has been the proverbial 'holy grail' waiting to be found, and achieving it -- albeit at 2 million atmospheres -- is a paradigm-changing moment in the history of science."
Key - Discovery - Creation - Compound - Pressures
The key to this discovery was creation of a metallic, hydrogen-rich compound at very high pressures: roughly 2 million atmospheres. The researchers used diamond anvil cells, devices used to create high pressures, to squeeze together miniscule samples of lanthanum and hydrogen. They then heated the samples and observed major changes in structure. This resulted in a new structure, LaH10, which the researchers previously predicted would be a superconductor at high temperatures.
While keeping the sample at high pressures, the team observed reproducible change in electrical properties. They measured significant drops in resistivity when the sample cooled below 260 K (minus 13 C,...
Wake Up To Breaking News!