Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired The Case of a Revolutionary (But Imaginary?) Superconductor

Hexbyte Tech News Wired The Case of a Revolutionary (But Imaginary?) Superconductor

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired

Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired

Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg/Getty Images

On July 23, Dev Kumar Thapa and Anshu Pandey made an extraordinary claim online. It wasn’t your garden variety fake news: By cramming microscopic particles of gold and silver together into pellets, they said, they’d constructed the first ever room-temperature superconductor. In a 13-page PDF, the two chemists at the Indian Institute of Science laid out measurements that indicated the pellets could conduct electricity perfectly at temperatures as warm as 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the unconfirmed claims are real, this is—to borrow a technical term—bonkers. For lack of a better descriptor, many physicists refer to room temperature superconductivity as “the holy grail” of their field. Most superconductors don’t work unless they’re cooled near absolute zero, and the warmest confirmed superconductor, hydrogen sulfide under extreme pressure, operates at a chilly -95 degrees Fahrenheit. “To have a room-temperature superconductor would change not just physics, but also a lot of practical aspects of life,” says physicist Brian Skinner of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It would mean that you could transmit electric power without losses.” It wouldn’t just nab its inventors the Nobel Prize. It would completely reinvent our electricity infrastructure.

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