Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Superconductivity Record

Nature: "Superconductivity record sparks wave of follow-up physics"
Hydrogen sulfide — the compound responsible for the smell of rotten eggs — conducts electricity with zero resistance at a record high temperature of 203 kelvin (–70 °C), reports a paper published today in Nature.

The first results of the work, which represents a historic step towards finding a room-temperature superconductor, were released on the arXiv preprint server in December and followed up by more in June. They have already sparked a wave of excitement within the research community...

According to Christoph Heil of the Graz University of Technology in Austria, other scientists are intensely interested in the result because it was achieved without using exotic materials such as the copper-containing compounds called 'cuprates' which until now have held the record for the highest superconducting temperature (133 K (–140 °C) at ambient pressure and 164 K (–109 °C) at high pressure). He says that the pressurized hydrogen sulfide seems to be a 'conventional' superconductor in which vibrations within the material's crystal lattice drive electrons to form ‘Cooper pairs’ that can flow through the crystal without resistance...