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Important results in superconductivity research

University of Chicago scientists at UChicago-affiliated Argonne National Laboratory are part of an international research team that has discovered superconductivity, explained as the ability to conduct electricity perfectly at the highest temperatures ever recorded.

The experiments took place under extremely high pressure, between 150 and 170 gigapascals. Extremely fast supercomputers and efficient magnetic levitation trains are two applications possible to consider. Previously,the researchers were only been able to create superconducting materials when they are cooled to extremely cold temperatures,  initially, minus-240 degrees Celsius. In fact, a new class of materials was now created, confirming  recent theoretical predictions. They are named lanthanum superhydrides. The new element has the atomic number 57. It’s a silvery-white metal that tarnishes rapidly when exposed to air.

lanthanum-crystal-structure
Lanthanum crystal structure

Lanthanum has no biological role in humans but is essential to some bacteria.The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory was used in experiment to analyze the material. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany participated. Superconductivity is a phenomenon of exactly zero electrical resistance. It was discovered by Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes on April 8, 1911. An electric current through a loop of superconducting wire can persist indefinitely with no power source.

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