This is a major breakthrough in electronics. For the first time, researchers at the universities of Rochester and Las Vegas have succeeded in creating a superconducting material at an ambient temperature of 15 ° C. Until now, the state of superconductivity – which is characterized by a complete absence of electrical resistance and magnetic field – required very low temperatures, below 140 ° C.
In some materials, a strange quantum effect then takes place. Pairs of electrons called “Cooper pairs” bond together, when they should instead repel each other. And these unnatural couples have the ability to move through atoms without ever clinging to them, like a perfect fluid.
But working at such low temperatures is still a big constraint. Researchers in quantum computing know this very well. This is why many scientists hoped to one day find an assembly that would achieve superconductivity at milder temperatures. Researchers at the universities of Rochester and Las Vegas finally achieved this by combining hydrogen, sulfur and carbon.
Created in a diamond vice
Except there is still a little catch. To reach this state of grace, you must apply a pressure of 267 gigapascals, or about 2.6 million times atmospheric pressure. This is on the order of magnitude of the pressure in the Earth’s inner core (350 gigapascals). To achieve this level of pressure, the researchers used what is known as a “diamond anvil cell” or “diamond anvil press,” where material is compressed by two faces of diamonds.
There is a second small problem. Researchers don’t know what this superconducting material ultimately consists of, as they struggle to perform spectroscopic analyzes at such a high pressure level. But let’s be honest, this is already a very good start.