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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Superconductors at room-temp NOT reached, comments from researcher inside

As you may remember, yesterday we did a quick post on a team of international researchers that were being reported as having found a material that could superconduct at room-temperature (which is more or less the holy-grail of superconductors). As i mentioned in that article, there seemed to be some discrepancies between what was being reported in some places (like nextenergynews, where i originally found the report), and the press-release from Dr.John Tse’s (the lead researcher) University.

Basically the press-release seemed to say that they had achieved superconductivity in a material that could potentially lead to superconductors at room-temp, while other sources were claiming outright that there had been an actual room-temp superconductor. To get to the bottom of it, i contacted Dr. Tse directly and here is what he’s told me.

He was apparently originally misquoted misinterpreted in EETimes (who have since corrected it), which then lead to the other misquotes and subsequent wrong reporting of a new superconductor at room-temperature.

Here is how Dr. Tse explained to me what they DID do in their research:

What they did was follow up on a suggestion made in 2004 by Prof. Ashcroft of Cornell, that suggested that if high enough density of hydrogen could be prepared in a solid, it might exhibit superconducting properties. He suggested using Hydrogen rich compounds, which is exactly what they did (Silane). They did indeed achieve this high density hydrogen state in silane, and subsequently detected superconductivity. The temperature they found it to superconduct at was actually 16K (around 280K would be room-temperature), at a pressure of 120 Giga-Pascal, and as Dr. Tse said, ” A good understanding of the mechanism may lead to the design of materials with even higher T_c”.

So there you have it! Not a room-temp superconducting material, but it may pave the way for it.

I don’t mean to be link-whoring here, but i would really appreciate a Digg/Reddit vote, which can be done at the top of this page, as both websites did report the misquotes as truth, and it would be nice to have it corrected.

Original here

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