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Scientists Create Room Temperature Superconductor

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the not-that-cold-anymore dept.

Science 380

StarEmperor writes "A team of Canadian and German scientists have fabricated a room-temperature superconductor, using a highly compressed silicon-hydrogen compound. According to the article,"The researchers claim that the new material could sidestep the cooling requirement, thereby enabling superconducting wires that work at room temperature.""

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On the market (1)

Lewrker (749844) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801450)

in 20 years.

"These new superconductors can be operated at higher temperatures, perhaps without a refrigerant."

So what (5, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802104)

This is absolutely awesome if they can get it into production, even in 20 years.
  • Efficient motors (think electric cars and perhaps even airplanes and boats);
  • Zero loss of power while sending it all over North America (or Europe, Asia, etc).
  • Heck, we are looking at hitting coppers limits. If this comes to be, then the use of copper will decrease and we will see a drop in price of that. The amount of copper that goes into large motors is pretty big.
  • Just thinking about it, it might even be used for electric storage.
  • Maglevs might become practical.
Besides, think of where we were 20 years ago; roughly 20 years ago, physicists had found a way to increase the temp. Those wires are now being used for short distance tranmissions. This could change everything.

Re:So what (4, Funny)

Lewrker (749844) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802194)

I'm just predicting a dupe on Slashdot in 20 years.

Re:So what (5, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802228)

"This is absolutely awesome if they can get it into production, even in 20 years."

No doubt. Think of the awesome stereo cables you could make with these!!!

Superconducting speaker cables and interconnects....the audiophiles dream!!

No wooden knob needed.

:-)

Room-pressure? (5, Interesting)

atomicthumbs (824207) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801452)

Is it also a room-pressure superconductor?

Re:Room-pressure? (5, Informative)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801488)

NOPE. Do not pass Go Do not collect $200.

"Instead of super-cooling the material, as is necessary for conventional superconductors, the new material is instead super-compressed. The researchers claim that the new material could sidestep the cooling requirement, thereby enabling superconducting wires that work at room temperature."

Re:Room-pressure? (4, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801598)

Rats. Though at least hypothetically, it seems like it would be easier to design a containment for a high-pressure superconductor that requires minimal energy to maintain versus a low-pressure one. You can design a pressure vessel such that the pressure only escapes via small known locations (any valve or seal), whereas cold always escapes in all directions. So there still may be practical advantages to this discovery.

Though in any event characterizing the behavior of high-pressure materials is valuable.

Re:Room-pressure? (3, Interesting)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801714)

Once compressed and held inside a silicon (or other) wafer isn't it feasible that it will retain its shape and pressure and properties?

This sidestepping means you can take it out of the lab without having it tethered to a fridge or anvil.

Re:Room-pressure? (3, Interesting)

elronxenu (117773) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802184)

IANASE (I Am Not A Superconductor Expert), but that sounds reasonable. There will not be superconducting wires of this stuff, at least no wires longer than microscopic scale.

If scientists can figure out how to make transistors from this stuff and use it to link those transistors together inside a chip then we might get CPUs which can massively exceed current clock rates.

The huge disparity between on-chip clocks and bus/memory clocks will increase the pressure on Intel and AMD to push as much circuitry on-chip as possible. The practical limit on that may turn out to be cooling requirements - how much heat is generated and needs to be removed from the chip.

Re:Room-pressure? (4, Informative)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802178)

whereas cold always escapes in all directions

Cold is not a thing, it is the absence of something (heat). Heat, on the other hand, exists, and enters from all directions.

Re:Room-pressure? (0, Redundant)

ameoba (173803) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802182)

Not a big fan of nitpicking but, since this is /. :

Cold doesn't escape - heat gets in.

Re:Room-pressure? (1, Interesting)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801660)

you know how much pressure that must take?! You keep the mollecules from vibrating wildly enough just by pressure instead of like -400F degrees. That's insane. Oh well, I won't mind seeing this technology die cuz I don't think we have the spare silicon to redo the power grid in this...or one city.

Re:Room-pressure? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22801872)

I think we probably have enough silicon. It is about 25% of the earth's crust by mass.

Re:Room-pressure? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22802188)

Oh well, I won't mind seeing this technology die cuz I don't think we have the spare silicon


"Silicon makes up 25.7% of the earth's crust by weight, and is the second most abundant element, exceeded only by oxygen. It is found largely as silicon oxides such as sand (silica), quartz, rock crystal, amethyst, agate, flint, jasper and opal. Silicon is found also in minerals such as asbestos, feldspar, clay and mica."

http://www.webelements.com/webelements/elements/text/Si/key.html [webelements.com]

Re:Room-pressure? (5, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801640)

No, but I suspect that this will still be a huge breakthrough, because we're generally better at keeping things pressurized than at keeping them cold. We have many, many static, high-pressure system with high reliability, but not that many super-cooled ones because cooling requires active energy expenditures.

Re:Room-pressure? (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801818)

The real question is, is it suitable for stretching into cables that can carry a reasonable amount of current. Without that, it's just a parlor trick.

Re:Room-pressure? (2, Informative)

deek (22697) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802172)

Superconductivity is not only useful for power distribution. It can also be used for energy storage and high strength magnetic fields. There still may be a fair few practical uses for a high pressure superconductor.

But... (1, Funny)

king0lag (1243544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801458)

Can it keep beer cool at room temperature?

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22801498)

If there was a line of it connecting the beer to something of lower than beer room temperature.....then yes.

Applications? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22801468)

I know Michael Flynn, in his novel Firestar [amazon.com] had some of his whizbang young people contributing to a new space age by developing superconductors that work at room temperature, but he never said what exactly superconductors do in space travel. What exactly new technologies will we see built on this?

Re:Applications? (1)

DaSpudMan (671160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801638)

Cold fusion!

Re:Applications? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22801834)

MagLev.
The biggest issue right now in most maglev is the energy required to cool the wires in the tracks.

Re:Applications? (4, Interesting)

mbessey (304651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801860)

Super-strong electromagnets are one application of current superconductors. There are a number of uses for such magnets in space, from reaction engine control, to ion thrusters [wikipedia.org] , to magnetic "sails" [wikipedia.org] , to gathering fuel for a Bussard ramjet [wikipedia.org] .

Magnets can also be used to direct dangerous radiation away from ships and the crew, in a phenomenon similar to the cause of the auroras [wikipedia.org] that light up the night skies here on earth.

Re:Applications? (4, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801984)

Also: Mass-driver reaction engines. (Electric catapults using asteroidial debris for the "exhaust".) They work much more efficiently if you don't have resistive losses in the wiring and coils. (But rapidly changing the current through a superconductor is also problematic...)

Re:Applications? (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802090)

But surely in space, it's easier to keep something cool than to pressurise it ? If so, then this latest development wouldn't be of much use for that particular area.

Re:Applications? (1)

Cecil (37810) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802004)

The benefits of superconductors that do not need (much) energy wasted on active cooling are potentially huge, affecting almost all areas of engineering and science. Electrical losses in power distribution could be essentially completely eliminated. Propulsion and transportation (extremely efficient motors, essentially frictionless maglev for everything) would probably be the first large change to really affect society. Superconductors could also potentially solve our energy storage dilemma. Chemical batteries? Flywheels? How quaint. Magnetism in general would probably become a major part of our lives. It would have an impact on space technology as well, though I can't say for certain what. But perhaps some way of using superconducting magnets to harness the interplanetary magnetic field could be devised. There are definitely major implications of resistance-free conductors for electronics and computers as well.

But that's just what we know will happen. It's entirely possible that the development of an easily usable material having such a unique relationship with electricity and magnetism, may spark a rush of development leading to revolutionary new things we've never even conceptualized before, the same way the early development of electricity did. Who knows. It will be very exciting, anyway, no matter how it turns out.

Pardon the pun (1)

dotmax (642602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801470)

Cool! .max

Re:Pardon the pun (2)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801524)

I think you missed the point. Not Cool!

Umm... (5, Informative)

linuxboredom (1054516) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801476)

So, how exactly is this a good alternative to colder superconductors? Pressure is often more expensive to safely maintain. Not to mention the fact that SiH4 autoignites at room temperature.

Re:Umm... (3, Interesting)

dotmax (642602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801616)

That's a good question. As they say, "more research is indicated". It might be a dead-end, and it might be a gateway to something fabulously useful.

On an grim note, i happened to notice a distinct lack of American presence in this announcement. Seems to be a Canadian/German thing. Y'know, that science stuff the US is running away from at full tilt (i work at a large US atom smasher that, like a *lot* of other Big and L'il Science Thangs, got a major budgetary wedgie this year). At least i still have my embarrassingly huge penis.

worth a read (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22801804)

You might find this [american.com] worth a read in considering the future of science in the US.

Re:Umm... (4, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801676)

So, how exactly is this a good alternative to colder superconductors?

Because you can maintain a given pressure without the continual input of energy. Temperature (in either direction) has the annoying habit of doing its best to match that of the ambient environment.


Not to mention the fact that SiH4 autoignites at room temperature.

In the presence of oxygen, yes... Fortunately, you can buy small glass containers that maintain an anoxic environment at four for a dollar, under the name "light bulbs".


Pressure is often more expensive to safely maintain.

Don't think in terms of working with compressed gasses - Think of something more like a propane tank, where once you have it in there, it just sits there and doesn't really take a whole lot of maintenance. Keep it out of the sun and avoid mechanical stresses, and it will stay compressed and not do nasty things like burning/exploding for decades.

Re:Umm... (2, Interesting)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801974)

Because you can maintain a given pressure without the continual input of energy. Temperature (in either direction) has the annoying habit of doing its best to match that of the ambient environment.
Pressure has that annoying habit, too. After all, nature always likes to smooth out gradients of any sort. We just know how to deal with gradients of pressure a little more reliably than with those of temperature.

Re:Umm... (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802022)

Fortunately, you can buy small glass containers that maintain an anoxic environment at four for a dollar, under the name "light bulbs".
Excellent -- four dollar light bulbs that never go "pfft"! Where do sign up?

Re:Umm... (1)

7-Vodka (195504) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802132)

They'll probably never light up either since it's the resistance property that causes the filament to glow.

Re:Umm... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22802162)

Because you can maintain a given pressure without the continual input of energy.


I suppose you live you in the Physics Fun house.

He we have our frictionless room....
Oh and over here is our pride and joy, a room that maintains a constant temperature and volume.

Also: I understand that silanes are VERY toxic. (2, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802100)

Not to mention the fact that SiH4 autoignites at room temperature.

Also: I hear silanes (beyond n=1) are VERY toxic.

Back in my undergraduate days my chemistry teaching fellow was doing research on them. He claimed that the ones he was working on were so toxic that if you could smell them you had already exceeded the fatal dose.

(Now he might have been feeding me and the rest of the class a line of bull. But I wasn't about to argue with him. It WAS his thesis project, which implies that he should know what he was talking about. And he DID grade the class, after all... B-) )

Re:Umm... (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802136)

For one thing, the theory of superconductors is not completely understood. The more different types of superconducters we make and study, then the more chance we have of understanding how superconductivity works.

So having some which work at low temperatures and normal pressures, and others which work at normal temperatures and high pressures makes it more likely that we can come up with a better theory,
. This in turn should lead to better predictions, and facilitate moving towards normal pressure, normal temperature superconductors.

Room temperature superconductors? (5, Funny)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801494)

Like Leonard Bernstein, for instance?

Re:Room temperature superconductors? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22801952)

As far as can be known to us, Mr. Bernstein a super conductor only when
ABOVE
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_body_temperature [wikipedia.org]
  room temperature
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_temperature [wikipedia.org] ,
which state, sadly, ended Oct. 14, 1990
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Bernstein [wikipedia.org]

Re:Room temperature superconductors? (2, Funny)

drwho (4190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802238)

Bernstein put the orchestra under immense pressure.

I don't believe it (1, Insightful)

barakn (641218) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801504)

Really.. I'm not just saying that.

Re:I don't believe it (1)

barakn (641218) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801550)

Or maybe I do believe it. It's fairly hard to get synchrotron time if you're a crackpot. The article is sparse on details though, especially the pressure used...

In related news (5, Funny)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801506)

Researchers in Fairbanks, Alaska have just created a room temperature superconductor.

Re:In related news (4, Informative)

Surt (22457) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801836)

Oh how good life would be if we only needed to reach fairbanks temperatures for superconductivity.
(Current best is a little worse than -300F, and fairbanks is not quite so cold, with a record of -66F).
So if they invented a room temperature superconductor, the world would in fact be quite thrilled at such a major breakthrough.

Re:In related news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22801940)

dorkstick

Re:In related news (1)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802020)

^I know, but the joke was far too good to pass up, eh.

obviously beer drinkers (3, Funny)

oddtodd (125924) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801512)

the scientists, that is...

Wow... (0)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801522)

If this is a finally practical technology to deploy anywhere, say on power lines this is really frickin' big....like there goes our energy crisis big. Or here comes the computer that's so fast the result was asked for today and delivered yesterday frickin' big.

In short, WOO HOO!

Its a bomb (5, Interesting)

slashdotlurker (1113853) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801536)

Silane explodes with considerable violence on exposure to air. Plus, how are you going to put conductors under great pressure ? The main attractiveness of super conductors lies in long distance electrical supply lines. Unless they come up with a way to hermetically seal the "wire" over distances of hundreds of miles with a seal that can withstand high pressure compressors dotting the landscape (unlikely), this very interesting advance will remain just that - very interesting.

All not counting whether it is more energy efficient to run superconductors with energy hog compressors or to just stick to what we have, hopefully realizing practical room temperature superconductivity.

Re:Its a bomb (5, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801672)

Silane explodes with considerable violence on exposure to air
Cool, I get to mark two things off my Star Trek checklist in a single day:

* Room-temperature superconductors
* Computers that explode violently

Re:Its a bomb (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801744)

It'd put evolutionary pressure on hicks to not shoot at them. It's a lesser victory, but a victory nonetheless.

Re:Its a bomb (1)

boojum007 (823726) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801746)

So go deep underground, there you have both high pressures and a lack of air. And convert to DC to avoid polarizing the ground alternatingly to avoid energy losses (which is why powerlines are high above the ground actually).

Re:Its a bomb (1)

Sta7ic (819090) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801842)

I can see this being a practical medium for high-voltage transmission just as soon as they solve the problem with pipes being vulnerable to puncture and explosions. Any sort of grid using that stuff would probably be a giant "sabotage me!" sign for all sorts of malcontents and terrorists (though I hate to use the word).

Re:Its a bomb (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801996)

Any sort of grid using that stuff would probably be a giant "sabotage me!" sign for all sorts of malcontents and terrorists (though I hate to use the word).


And yet, we somehow manage continent-spanning pipelines of highly-pressurized, highly-flammible gas without trouble.

Re:Its a bomb (4, Informative)

evanbd (210358) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801956)

Silane explodes with considerable violence on exposure to air.

The best part? It's only *mostly* pyrophoric in air. *Sometimes* it waits a little while and accumulates a nice big cloud first, rather than flaring the instant it starts leaking.

Re:Its a bomb (4, Informative)

shotfire (1190219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802206)

High voltage is already 'transmitted' in pressurized bus work. The bus work is pressurized with SF6 gas and is regularly used with voltages up to 500kV. This is common in Transformer Stations and other high voltage equipment (breakers, etc). You can come within 3' of a 500kV bus that's pressurized in SF6 (you can theoretically touch the outside of the bus work too, but I wouldn't). Unfortunately it's not economically feasible to do this over long distances. SF6 in itself is not toxic to humans, although it has a nasty habit of displacing all the oxygen in your vicinity. The by-products created when electrical arc occur within the SF6 gas are extremely toxic.

Imagine the weapon capabilities? (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801544)

If I was playing civ, then this would be a pre-req for some sort of crazy future weapon.

Please hold your breath and run... (5, Interesting)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801546)

Silane is pyrophoric and boils at 161 K. It may be a while before this leads to practical results.

Re:Please hold your breath and run... (4, Funny)

nonsequitor (893813) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801604)

Silane is pyrophoric and boils at 161 K.
So you're saying it's vaporware?

Re:Please hold your breath and run... (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802036)

More like explosion-ware!

Pyrophoricity [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Please hold your breath and run... (2, Interesting)

mother_reincarnated (1099781) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801612)

Just think of the cool failure modes! Queue the hypersonic jet of solid silane sublimating a second later into a raging inferno...

Re:Please hold your breath and run... (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801626)

Silane is pyrophoric and boils at 161 K. It may be a while before this leads to practical results.

Yeah, the article title got me really excited. I thought they discovered the Holy Grail of super conductors: room temperature and pressure.

Someday I guess.

Re:Please hold your breath and run... (2, Informative)

chillax137 (612431) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801700)

It boils at 161 K at atmospheric pressure. Increasing the pressure increases the temperature at which the material vaporizes.

Re:Please hold your breath and run... (1)

shrikel (535309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801702)

Silane is pyrophoric and boils at 161 K at natural air pressures.

Re:Please hold your breath and run... (1)

Garridan (597129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802112)

Ah! No problem then. Chill it to below 161K, and we're in business! Liquid, room-temp... um... superconductor. damn.

Obligatory room-temperature Tick quote (1)

Mr. Bad Example (31092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801554)

Egad, man! What's the point?

Compression probably harder than cooling (1)

Captain Segfault (686912) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801560)

It's certainly interesting, although the article is sparse on details (how much pressure?).

Note that keeping this substance under pressure is likely to be harder than keeping a superconductor cooled. Keeping a superconductor cooled isn't that hard, given that it isn't generating resistive heat. All you need to do is keep it well insulated and refrigerate the LN2 enough to make up for heat loss.

Re:Compression probably harder than cooling (1)

secPM_MS (1081961) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801774)

The press release had essentially no information. The fact that they were using a accelerator X-RAY source clearly says that they were working with a diamond anvil cell. It would not be surprising if the pressures involved were in the Megabar levels. You would want to know what the transition temperature is for deuterated silane, as this would tell us if phonon modes were involved - classical superconductivity is phonon-mediated, while the cuprate high temperature superconductors involve very short range electronic excitations as exchange vectors.

Potentially interesting from the physics point of view. From the engineering point of view, I would view it as providing hints concerning other, more reasonable, molecular media.

Superconducting Monster cables? (2, Insightful)

PseudoThink (576121) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801566)

So how long before we get to pay several hundred dollars for high-pressure, superconducting HDMI cables that take our HD viewing to the "next level"...and also spontaneously ignite if they are chewed on by the family pet?

Re:Superconducting Monster cables? (1)

bibi-pov (819943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801848)

Damn, you were faster than me! That was exactly my first though :)

Easy step now (3, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801580)

The hard part's done: We found a supercompressed gas (boiling point -161F) that superconducts. The next step now involves finding something electrically similar (think lead oxide + aluminum versus iron oxide + aluminum. Ignite iron oxide + Al and get Aluminum Oxide and iron and heat; ignite lead oxide + aluminum and get deadly lead gas + aluminum oxide + about 50 times more heat). Find the right chemical properties (solid until 500C?) on an electrically similar compound and you got yourself a deal.

Not room pressure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22801602)

The article leaves out the important information of what pressure is required to achieve this.
Ordinary hydrogen becomes metallic at high pressure (i.e. deep inside Jupiter). I'm not sure
if it becomes a superconductor as well but such pressures are far from practical.
So, they might have got a high temperature superconductor, but that doesn't mean it is practical.
However, great pressure, unlike low temperature, can be maintained without using energy so,
it might be useful for something.

Hot - I mean - Lukewarm Damn! (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801606)

This was some sort of holy grail, ne?

Now they just have to solve the pressure problem...

Vernacular change? (2, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801618)

So, lets say this eventually becomes a common technology (doubtful, but lets pretend). When do we get to stop calling them 'super'conductors? When the super becomes the common, is it still super? Like the evolution of memory classification in DOS. Before the advent of the NY kernal, I spent considerable time trying to remember the difference between conventional, extended, expanded, upper, and high memory. I think the main reason DOS gave way to Windows was Microsoft ran out of superlatives....

Re:Vernacular change? (1)

Chmarr (18662) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801664)

"Superconducting" means "you can't get any more conductive than this". So, there's no problem.

Re:Vernacular change? (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801864)

So, lets say this eventually becomes a common technology (doubtful, but lets pretend). When do we get to stop calling them 'super'conductors?

Never, because the physics of super conductors is different from regular conductors, and regular conductors are never going away. There are many, many circumstances where having resistance is necessary, and for that you need a plain-ol' conductor. Also I think we're safe from creeping-superlative-itis because you pretty much can't get more "super" than "effectively zero resistance".

And what's so hard about remembering all the types of DOS memory? "Conventional" was the kind that you never had enough of to launch your games. "Extended" memory was a baroque and stupid way of accessing all the extra memory you had that the chip couldn't address directly. "Expanded" memory was the same thing, only different. "Upper" memory was the memory your chip could address but refused to let your games use. And lastly "high" memory is when you were editing your config.sys autoexec.bat to get more conventional memory but you got distracted thinking about how funny it would be if .bat files were like, actually bats that flew around in your computer, and you forgot what the line was you just deleted, and your game never runs again.

I guess we need to update the "Holy Grail"... (1)

Dice (109560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801642)

OK, so previously a room temperature superconductor was considered a "Holy Grail" of science. However, as others have pointed out, this one won't be particularly practical since it requires large pressures to operate. We need to update the stated requirement for Holy Grail status as "STP superconductor".

"STP superconductor" (2, Funny)

cizoozic (1196001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802070)

You mean like Scott Weiland [wikipedia.org] ?

Room temperature (0)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801656)

It's just a really cold room

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22801674)

Isn't that special?

Negative resistance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22801688)

So, if I cool the material below room temperature, will it turn into a material with negative resistance, i.e. gaining energy when passing electricity through the material?

Re:Negative resistance? (1)

BoChen456 (1099463) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801938)

Nope, That only happens after you cool it belong 0K .

This is NOT room temperature superconductivity! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22801734)

I'm holding TFA (Science, 14 March 2008, pp. 1506-1509). The highest critical temperatures they observed, regardless of pressure, were around 17 Kelvin (between 96-120 GPa). These are interesting results because they are among the few measurements available to shed light on the behavior of dense hydrides at these pressures, and these materials might, if better understood, one day allow a room temperature superconductor to be made. This, however, is not it.

Re:This is NOT room temperature superconductivity! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22801936)

Thanks for looking up the original paper (DOI: 10.1126/science.1153282). The EETimes reporter seems to be terribly confused.
The money quote from the paper:

On cooling, a typical metallic behavior of the resistance was observed and eventually becoming superconducting (SC) at Tc {approx} 7 K (Fig. 2B). Upon further compression, the sample became completely opaque at 76 GPa, and Tc increased, with pressure up to 17.5 K at 96 GPa and 17 K at 120 GPa (Fig. 2C). At higher pressures, Tc decreases to 8.8 K at 165 GPa and is then likely to increase again to 11.3 K at 192 GPa (Fig. 2C). The behavior of Tc between 90 GPa and 120 GPa is suggestive that higher values of critical temperature of superconductivity may be possible. However, uncontrollable change of pressure during sample loading (20) prohibited us from studying this regime in detail.

Damn you samzenpus (5, Insightful)

vikstar (615372) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801742)

God damn you for the headline "Scientists Create Room Temperature Superconductor". I almost fell of my chair in excitment. Then my climax was rapidly stolen when I read that it required high pressures. Next time, try to replace typical news sensationalistic headlines with pertinant headlines. In this case "Scientists Create Room Temperature but High Pressure Superconductor".

Re:Damn you samzenpus (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801816)

You mean you don't automatically assume "sensationalism" or "submitter/editor got it wrong" when you see a Slashdot article? Especially one dealing with science.

You're newer here than I am.

Re:Damn you samzenpus (3, Insightful)

BoChen456 (1099463) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801998)

Its worse, correct headline is "Scientists increase temperature of superconductor by adding great pressure, thinks its possible to get room temperature superconductor by adding even more pressure (Even though there is no way to generate that pressure yet)."

hmmm (0, Flamebait)

joemmm12 (1259186) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801752)

this could be interesting wouldn't mind seeing more info on this and a peer reviewed article Oh yeah if you're bored check out the funniest video ever made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0ZaEU9GlLY [youtube.com]

pressure, temperature... (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801776)

The group in Germany that did the experimental work specializes in doing measurements of pressures of ~100 GPa. It looks like they use diamond anvils, http://www.mpg.de/bilderBerichteDokumente/dokumentation/pressemitteilungen/2004/pressemitteilung200408022/index.html [www.mpg.de] . So, okay, this would be a really earthshattering development if it led to superconductors that work at room temperature and at ordinary pressures, but it sounds like that may not happen. We already have superconductors that work at liquid nitrogen temperatures, and liquid nitrogen is as cheap as milk.

room temperature still requires cooling (1)

drfrog (145882) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801784)

given the rising global temperature... it seems logical that we will still need some sort of cooling to keep rooms at 'room temperature'

at least anywhere south of the artic circle

hey... (1)

serbanp (139486) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801810)

is that an early April Fools or what?

Buckytubes as containers? (3, Interesting)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801862)

I wonder if these molecules would fit within carbon buckytubes, and if those tubes could withstand the pressure required for room-temp superconductivity without exploding into organic compounds?

Re:Buckytubes as containers? (3, Funny)

ndelta (1102663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802150)

GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!!!!!

Simple answer..... (2, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22801886)

give it my job. There's more than enough pressure.

Business perspective (1, Interesting)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802030)

Slashdaughter geeks tend to get overexcited at the potential of major breakthroughs, like a room-temperature superconductor. In order to make a difference in the quality of life, these breakthroughs have to be supported by hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in upgrading the existing infrastructure.

    For example, the best use of superconductors at the present would be to prevent the loss of enormous amounts of electricity between the power-generating stations and the home users. The percentage of energy lost is huge is this area. But the money simply isn't there to rebuild the electrical infrastructure to take advantage of this new superconductor (even if it did operate at standard temperature-pressure).

  This is the same situation with all major new technologies, like high-percentage efficiency solar cells, etc... There is this hope among technologists that the incremental efficiency gains seen from implementing new technology on small scales ('Green' buildings, individual hybrid cars, cold light bulbs, etc...) will create a 'snowballing' effect where the money saved by the new technology will more than offset the cost of its manufacture and installation.

    That was true in the 20th century in the era of cheap oil, but it isn't true anymore. And with the crisis of climate change and the permanent endless wars caused by overpopulation on the horizon, it is even less likely to happen.

    All the incredible technological change and advances of the 21st century will do little more than keep a small percentage of the world's elite living at quality of life that was accepted as normal in 2000. It's a hard truth to come to grips with, but the sooner that you can integrate it into your geek consciousness, the easier that the adjustments will be for you as the 21st century's harsh new realities unfold themselves.

    The 20th century is over. The money is gone. The cheap, easy oil is gone. The brains and spirit of unbounded hopefullness of the 20th century is fading rapidly. Enjoy life while you can, and don't give any more of your money to Steve Jobs or the RIAA.

Re:Business perspective (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802106)

That was the least successful troll that I've ever seen.

You fail.

Peer reviewed? (1)

maidden (921536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802118)

I'm having a hard time finding the peer-reviewed paper they must have published. Anybody got a link?

Scientists Create Room Temperature Superconductor (1)

thefear (1011449) | more than 6 years ago | (#22802220)

... in alaska?

old joke I know, but I just cant resist.
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