This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
The phenomenon of superconductivity (or superconductivity) was discovered more than 100 years ago and plays an important role in modern innovations such as linear motor cars and MRI body scans. However, the phenomenon requires cryogenic conditions, usually below -140°C, which is a drawback that requires expensive and sophisticated equipment.
But the new study, reported by scientists led by Professor Ranga Dias of the University of Rochester in the US, says they have created "photochemically synthesize simple organic-derived carbonaceous sulfur hydride" that no longer shows superconductivity at about 15°C in the room temperature range.
The scientists have been experimenting with materials such as copper oxides and iron-based materials with the goal of creating room-temperature superconductors, but they have found the most success with the ubiquitous and common element, hydrogen, according to the team.
“To have a high temperature superconductor, you want stronger bonds and light elements. Those are the two very basic criteria. Hydrogen is the lightest material, and the hydrogen bond is one of the strongest," said Dias, explaining briefly why they chose hydrogen as the material of choice. However, extraordinarily high pressures are needed just to get pure hydrogen into a metallic state, so the team instead turned to alternative materials that are rich in hydrogen, but maintain the desired superconductive properties and can be metalized at far lower pressures.
What they found was a mixture of hydrogen, carbon, and sulfur that met the requirement. The scientists used a device called a diamond anvil cell (a device for applying very high pressure to matter that can reproduce the pressure of the Earth's depths) to crystallize the mixture into a material called carbon-hydrogenated sulfur, and when the temperature was lowered, the team was able to confirm that the material became superconducting. As the pressure was increased, the temperature at which the material became superconducting increased, and it was confirmed that the material became superconducting at almost room temperature, about 58 °F (14.5 °C), if the pressure was increased to about 39 million pounds per square inch (psi).
“We live in a semiconductor society, and with this kind of technology, you can take society into a superconducting society where you’ll never need things like batteries again,” says Ashkan Salamat of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, a coauthor of the discovery. Just a cursory thought: power lines and grids with no resistance loss, simpler implementation of linear motor cars and other new transportation technologies, and improvements in medical imaging technology.
However, it is impossible to achieve room temperature superconductivity at 2.6 million times higher pressure than atmospheric pressure in general equipment. In addition, since the superconducting material becomes very small at such high pressures, it is unlikely to be used for the practical application of room temperature superconductivity. Therefore, the key to the practical application of room-temperature superconductivity is to create materials that can be used for some purpose at lower pressure and at a reasonable cost. This could be achieved, for example, by fine-tuning the makeup of ingredients.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.