Room-Temperature Superconductivity Achieved, but the superconductor requires crushing pressures to keep from falling apart

Charlie Wood in Quanta:

Yet while researchers celebrate the achievement, they stress that the newfound compound — created by a team led by Ranga Dias of the University of Rochester — will never find its way into lossless power lines, frictionless high-speed trains, or any of the revolutionary technologies that could become ubiquitous if the fragile quantum effect underlying superconductivity could be maintained in truly ambient conditions. That’s because the substance superconducts at room temperature only while being crushed between a pair of diamonds to pressures roughly 75% as extreme as those found in the Earth’s core.

“People have talked about room-temperature superconductivity forever,” Pickard said. “They may not have quite appreciated that when we did it, we were going to do it at such high pressures.”

Materials scientists now face the challenge of discovering a superconductor that operates not only at normal temperatures but under everyday pressures, too. Certain features of the new compound raise hopes that the right blend of atoms could someday be found.

More here.

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