A team of physicists affiliated with several institutions in South Korea is claiming to have created the elusive room-temperature/ambient-pressure superconducting material. Their work has not yet been peer reviewed. They have posted two papers on the arXiv preprint server.
What is a superconductor and why is it important?
A superconductor is a material that can conduct electricity without resistance, meaning that no energy is lost as heat. This would revolutionize the fields of electricity and electronics, as well as enable new applications such as levitating trains, powerful magnets, and quantum computers.
However, most known superconductors only work at very low temperatures and/or under high pressure, which limits their practical use. Scientists have been searching for a material that can exhibit superconductivity at room temperature and normal pressure for more than a century.
How did the Korean team create the new material?
The team claims that they have created a new material, which they call LK-99, by a solid-state reaction between lanarkite (Pb2SO5) and copper phosphide (Cu3P). The reaction, they say, transformed the mixture into a dark gray, superconductive material.
They say that they have measured the electrical resistance and magnetic properties of LK-99 and found that it shows zero resistance and the Meissner effect, which are characteristics of superconductivity. They also provide a video of the material partially levitating above a magnet.
What are the challenges and limitations of their work?
The team’s claims have not been verified by other researchers or published in a peer-reviewed journal. There have been previous false claims of room-temperature superconductors in the past, which were later retracted or debunked.
The team also acknowledges that their material is not pure and contains impurities that may affect its properties. They say that they are working on improving the synthesis process and the quality of the material.
Moreover, they admit that they do not fully understand the mechanism behind the superconductivity of LK-99. They speculate that it may be related to the presence of lead atoms or phosphorus vacancies in the crystal structure, but they do not provide any theoretical or experimental evidence to support their hypothesis.
What are the implications and prospects of their discovery?
If their claims turn out to be true, the team in Korea will have made one of the biggest breakthroughs in physics history, no doubt leading to revolutionary changes in technology and society.
However, many experts remain skeptical and cautious about their results, and urge for more independent tests and validations before accepting their conclusions.
The team says that they are open to sharing their samples and methods with other researchers who are interested in reproducing their experiments. They also say that they are planning to submit their papers to a reputable journal for peer review.
Will they be able to convince the scientific community of their discovery? Or will they join the list of failed attempts to achieve room-temperature superconductivity? Only time will tell.