Reddmatter – The Future of Superconductivity

Reddmatter – The Future of Superconductivity

News |
By Wisse Hettinga

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

“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.

Previously, the Dias team reported creating two materials—carbonaceous sulfur hydride and yttrium superhydride—that are superconducting at 58 degrees Fahrenheit/39 million psi and 12 degrees Fahreneheit/26 million psi respectively, in papers in Nature and Physical Review Letters.


Given the importance of the new discovery, Dias and his team went to unusual lengths to document their research and head off criticism that developed in the wake of the previous Naturepaper, which led to a retraction by the journal’s editors. That previous paper has been resubmitted to Nature with new data that validates the earlier work, according to Dias. The new data was collected outside the lab, at the Argonne and Brookhaven National Laboratories in front of an audience of scientists who saw the superconducting transition live. A similar approach has been taken with the new paper.

Five graduate students in Dias’s lab—Nathan Dasenbrock-Gammon, Elliot Snider, Raymond McBride, Hiranya Pasan, and Dylan Durkee—are listed as co-lead authors. “Everyone in the group was involved in doing the experiments,” Dias says. “It was truly a collective effort.”

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