After nearly a decade, physicists in New York have discovered a mystery material that can operate at room temperature without any resistance.
Superconductors are normally known to operate at colder temperatures. However, the team, led by Ranga Dias of the University of Rochester, has explained in Nature that this one can operate at a temperature of 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit).
Many scientists have commented on the discovery. Ion Errea from the University of Basque Country claiming that this is the first time they can say with surety that a room-temperature superconductor has been discovered.
Another scientist at the University of Illinois has shown his enthusiasm by saying that the discovery is ‘nothing short of beautiful’.
Even though this discovery is being celebrated by scientists all over the world, there is one significant shortcoming. This material can only operate in a very high-pressure environment.
Specifically, the superconductor works when pressurized between a pair of diamonds. This pressure level is 75% of the pressure that is usually only found at the Earth’s core.
After this, it becomes a challenge to take this research forward because scientists need to discover a substance that could conduct electricity at normal pressures as well in addition to room temperature.
This research has been baffling scientists since 1911 when they first discovered that at cooler temperatures, the electrons in a metal’s atomic lattice are drawn together. This phenomenon is known as Cooper pairs.
However, when the temperature rises again the electrons break apart. The predicament scientists face now is to find a substance whose Cooper pairs do not break apart under normal temperatures.
The team has also reported that during their research, they had to spend $3000 worth of diamonds and the cost of the experiment also became a hurdle.
Dias and Salamat have also announced that they will be sharing details of the substance once they know the specifics. Scientists will then be able to further work on the superconductor, modifying the experiments to progress the research.
Eva Zurek from the University of Buffalo has commented on the research, explaining that even though achieving superconductivity at normal pressures presents a significant challenge, the use of carbon in the experiments can help make way for future discoveries.