Breakthrough: First room-temperature superconductor is finally a reality


VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
Boston, MA
but it requires extremely high pressure to make, not necessarily an insurmountable impediment - sell your cables

Compressing simple molecular solids with hydrogen at extremely high pressures, University of Rochester engineers and physicists have, for the first time, created material that is superconducting at room temperature.

Featured as the cover story in the journal Nature, the work was conducted by the lab of Ranga Dias, an assistant professor of physics and mechanical engineering.

Dias says developing materials that are superconducting—without electrical resistance and expulsion of magnetic field at room temperature—is the "holy grail" of condensed matter physics. Sought for more than a century, such materials "can definitely change the world as we know it," Dias says.

In setting the new record, Dias and his research team combined hydrogen with carbon and sulfur to photochemically synthesize simple organic-derived carbonaceous sulfur hydride in a diamond anvil cell, a research device used to examine miniscule amounts of materials under extraordinarily high pressure.

The carbonaceous sulfur hydride exhibited superconductivity at about 58 degrees Fahrenheit and a pressure of about 39 million psi. This is the first time that superconducting material has been observed at room temperatures.

"Because of the limits of low temperature, materials with such extraordinary properties have not quite transformed the world in the way that many might have imagined. However, our discovery will break down these barriers and open the door to many potential applications," says Dias, who is also affiliated with the University's Materials Science and High Energy Density Physics programs.

Applications include:
  • Power grids that transmit electricity without the loss of up to 200 million megawatt hours (MWh) of the energy that now occurs due to resistance in the wires.
  • A new way to propel levitated trains and other forms of transportation.
  • Medical imaging and scanning techniques such as MRI and magnetocardiography
  • Faster, more efficient electronics for digital logic and memory device technology.
"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.

The amount of superconducting material created by the diamond anvil cells is measured in picoliters—about the size of a single inkjet particle.

The next challenge, Dias says, is finding ways to create the room temperature superconducting materials at lower pressures, so they will be economical to produce in greater volume. In comparison to the millions of pounds of pressure created in diamond anvil cells, the atmospheric pressure of Earth at sea level is about 15 PSI.

Previously, the highest temperature for a superconducting material was achieved last year in the lab of Mikhail Eremets at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, and the Russell Hemley group at the University of Illinois at Chicago. That team reported superconductivity at -10 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit using lanthanum superhydride.
However, extraordinarily high pressures are needed just to get pure hydrogen into a metallic state, which was first achieved in a lab in 2017 by Harvard University professor Isaac Silvera and Dias, then a postdoc in Silvera's lab.


VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
Boston, MA
A major new milestone has just been achieved in the quest for superconductivity. For the first time, physicists have achieved the resistance-free flow of an electrical current at room temperature - a positively balmy 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit).

This has smashed the previous record of -23 degrees Celsius (-9.4 degrees Fahrenheit), and has brought the prospect of functional superconductivity a huge step forward.

Superconductivity was first discovered in 1911, and has since become a fervently pursued goal in condensed matter physics.

It consists of two key properties. The first is zero resistance. Usually, the flow of an electrical current encounters some degree of resistance - a bit like how air resistance pushes back on a moving object, for example. The higher the conductivity of a material, the less electrical resistance it has, and the current can flow more freely.

The second is something called the Meissner effect, in which the magnetic fields of the superconducting material are expelled. This forces the magnetic field lines to reroute around the material. If a small permanent magnet is placed above a superconducting material, the repulsive force of these magnetic field lines will cause it to levitate.

Since pure metallic hydrogen can only be created under extreme pressure, the right conditions are extremely difficult to achieve. Two teams have reported success in creating it in recent years.

In 2017, physicists reported metallic hydrogen at pressures between 465 and 495 gigapascals and temperatures of 5.5 Kelvin (-267.65 °Cs; -449.77 °F). In 2019, physicists reported metallic hydrogen at pressures of 425 gigapascals and temperatures of 80 Kelvin (-193 °C; -316 °F). Neither of those are close to room temperature. And, for reference, the pressure at Earth's core is between 330 and 360 gigapascals.

The next best thing is a metal that's rich in hydrogen, like the hydrogen sulfide and lanthanum hydride used in previous experiments. These mimic the superconducting properties of pure metallic hydrogen at much lower pressures.

So, a team of physicists led by Elliot Snider of the University of Rochester started experimenting. First, they tried combining the hydrogen with yttrium to create yttrium superhydride. This material exhibited superconductivity at -11 degrees Celsius (12 degrees Fahrenheit) under 180 gigapascals of pressure.

Next, Snider and his team tried combining carbon, sulphur, and hydrogen to create carbonaceous sulphur hydride. They squeezed a tiny sample in a diamond anvil and measured it for superconductivity. And they found it, at 270 gigapascals, and 15 degrees Celsius.

Obviously, it's still a way off being useable in everyday circumstances. The sample sizes were microscopic, between 25 and 35 microns, and the pressure at which superconductivity emerged still rather impractical.

The next step in the research will be to try to reduce the high pressure needed by tuning the chemical composition of the sample. If they can get the mix right, the researchers believe a room-temperature, ambient-pressure superconductor will finally be within our grasp.


Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2010
SF Bay
Advances in materials science will help us create more efficient systems that waste less power. The pressures required will need a solution for scale up. I'm a big fan of the work going on in this area.
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