Scientists have reported the discovery of the first room-temperature superconductor, after more than a century of search. Superconductors transmit electricity without resistance, allowing current to flow without any energy loss. However, they must be cooled. The new discovered superconductor is working below temperatures of about 15° Celsius (59° Fahrenheit) but only at extremely high pressures. Physicist Ranga Dias of the University of Rochester in New York and colleagues formed the superconductor by squeezing carbon, hydrogen and sulfur between the tips of two diamonds and hitting the material with laser light to induce chemical reactions. At a pressure about 2.6 million times that of Earth’s atmosphere, and temperatures below about 15° C, the electrical resistance vanished.
The experience was repeated and the result was confirmed. The scientists were not able to determine the exact composition of the material or how its atoms are arranged, making it difficult to explain how it can be superconducting at such relatively high temperatures. If a room-temperature superconductor could be used at atmospheric pressure, it could save vast amounts of energy lost to resistance in the electrical grid.