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Using advanced technology at UChicago-affiliated Argonne National Laboratory, the team studied a class of materials in which they observed superconductivity at temperatures of about minus-23 degrees Celsius (minus-9 degrees Fahrenheit) -- a jump of about 50 degrees compared to the previous confirmed record.
Though the superconductivity happened under extremely high pressure, the result still represents a big step toward creating superconductivity at room temperature -- the ultimate goal for scientists to be able to use this phenomenon for advanced technologies. The results were published May 23 in the journal Nature; Vitali Prakapenka, a research professor at the University of Chicago, and Eran Greenberg, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Chicago, are co-authors of the research.
Copper - Wire - Electricity - Rubber - Tube
Just as a copper wire conducts electricity better than a rubber tube, certain kinds of materials are better at becoming superconductive, a state defined by two main properties: The material offers zero resistance to electrical current and cannot be penetrated by magnetic fields. The potential uses for this are as vast as they are exciting: electrical wires without diminishing currents, extremely fast supercomputers and efficient magnetic levitation trains.
But scientists have previously only been able to create superconducting materials when they are cooled to extremely cold temperatures -- initially, minus-240 degrees Celsius and more recently about minus-73 degrees Celsius. Since such cooling is expensive, it has limited their applications in the world at large.
Predictions - Class - Materials - Hydrides - Way
Recent theoretical predictions have shown that a new class of materials of superconducting hydrides could pave the way for higher-temperature superconductivity. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany teamed up with University of Chicago researchers to create one of these materials, called lanthanum superhydrides, test its superconductivity, and determine its structure and composition.
The only catch was that the material needed to be placed under extremely high pressure -- between 150 and...
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