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Nanoclusters Break Superconductivity Record

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the room-temperature-in-siberia dept.

Science 138

KentuckyFC writes "A couple of years ago, two Russian physicists predicted that metal nanoclusters with exactly the right number of delocalized electrons (a few hundred or so) could become strong superconductors. Now an American group has found the first evidence that this prediction is correct in individual aluminium nanoclusters containing 45 or 47 atoms. And they found it at 200 K (abstract). That's a huge jump over the previous record of 138K for a high-temperature superconductor. There are a few caveats, however. The result is only partial evidence of superconductivity and the work has yet to be peer-reviewed. But its mere publication will set scientists scrambling to confirm. And 200K! That's practically room temperature in the Siberian winter."

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GODDAMIT (-1, Offtopic)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036622)

It's "aluminium". Get used to it.

Re:GODDAMIT (5, Funny)

fructose (948996) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036710)

Not everyone lives in a "-ium" country. And IUAPC swings both ways [wikipedia.org] . Get used to it.

Re:GODDAMIT (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036762)

Heh. You linked to:

Aluminium
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Aluminum redirects here.

Re:GODDAMIT (4, Funny)

EricR86 (1144023) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036736)

If you prefer the slang version it's "GODDAMMIT" or "GODDAMNIT", there's no entry for your "GODDAMIT" in urban dictionary. Or if you wish to be proper, there's always "God damn it". Get used to it :).

Re:GODDAMIT (1)

sensei moreh (868829) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036764)

[quote]It's "aluminium". Get used to it.[/quote] Maybe where you come from...

Re:GODDAMIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23037242)

key phrase: "...Now an American group..."

When your country makes the breakthrough they can spell it however they'd like.

Re:GODDAMIT (2, Informative)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037244)

Why the hell would you want to pronounce that highly awkward, useless and redundant fifth syllable? We've spent centuries over here cleaning up the English language by expunging extraneous letters and normalizing spelling to match pronunciation. Much has been accomplished, but more needs to be done. Get with the program.

Re:GODDAMIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23037408)

You've got it the wrong way round btw. Americans use an older form of English, in general, and so words which are archaic in British usage are used in the USA (normalcy being one classic example). So the Brits actually have been going around adding letters, rather than the Americans removing them.

Re:GODDAMIT (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 6 years ago | (#23039244)

The well-known removal of "u", the conversion of s to z in "yse"/"yze" words, reversal of "re" words to "er", and shortening of words that end in "amme" to "am" was started in America by Mr. Webster. Certain particular words in the US may be more archaic, and I've heard but cannot verify that the accents in the American South mapped to fairly common English accents at the time far better than modern English accents. But it's really mostly Americans removing letters. Some of which make things less clear, in my opinion. Why does analysis go to analyze instead of analyse? The etymology certainly supports the 's', and the sound itself, when I say it, is sort of middling between a 'z' sound and an 's' sound anyway. And color -- the o's have extremely different pronounciations each time. WTF. I'm sure you can find plenty of other uncontested words like that, but it's still aggravating (even if color is more etymologically sound, colour is the older English-language representation).

Re:GODDAMIT (2, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037698)

wuh-hi the hel wood u wont to pro-noun-se that hi-li ok-werd, u-se-les and ri-dun-dant fifth sil-a-bul?
 
Yeahhhh because English really cleaned up its spelling didn't it? If it were a concerted effort to clean up strange spellings you wouldn't have gone after the letter u and ium words before taking on 'knife'. The reason america is wrong isn't because of how it is supposed to be spelled (from a pronunciation point of view). It is because the rest of the world spells it differently. Its like using inches and feet in a metric world. Get with the program.

Re:GODDAMIT (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037764)

you do realize the british use miles right? In the UK you get both meteric and English imperial units. Some things are commonly done in one other's are commonly done in the other.

Re:GODDAMIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23040456)

But they still have a monarchy... they have a right to imperialism! But their children (The Commonwealth) are mostly up to date and modern, using the auspicious metric system almost exclusively.

Re:GODDAMIT (1)

garlicbready (846542) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037254)

(in a deep Northern Brittish Accent)
Those Americans, they aught to talk proper, like what we does

Re:GODDAMIT (4, Funny)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037350)

(in a deep Northern Brittish Accent)
you mean Scottish?

Re:GODDAMIT (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23039208)

Well, it's crap. So it must not be Scottish.

Re:GODDAMIT (1)

garlicbready (846542) | more than 6 years ago | (#23039912)

English humor "what we does" is grammatically incorrect
A north england accent isn't Scottish (think Bolton / ee by gum, emphasis on the o's and u's, "bloody hell", sounds like "bluudy 'ell")

Re:GODDAMIT (1)

Brownstar (139242) | more than 6 years ago | (#23040420)

Northern England, isn't in the Northern part of Britain either.

Re:GODDAMIT (1)

call-me-kenneth (1249496) | more than 6 years ago | (#23040534)

"It's crap being Scottish. We're the lowest of the low, the scum of the earth, the most wretched, miserable, servile, pathetic trash that was ever shown to civilization. Some people hate the English. I don't. They're just wankers. We, on the other hand, were colonized by wankers. Can't even find a decent civilization to be colonized by. --Mark, in "Trainspotting"

Planearium (1)

Jhan (542783) | more than 6 years ago | (#23038052)

It's "aluminium". Get used to it.

I'm sorry, but I have a speech defect [mrtwig.net] which prohibts me from intong the second "i" in any one word.

Re:GODDAMIT (5, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#23038160)

You know, if it weren't for us and our aluminum, you'd be talking about "das aluminium" right now.

Re:GODDAMIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23038268)

It's been fifty+ years, let it go. :)

Re:GODDAMIT (1)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23038640)

Oh to have mod points... bravo, sir!

Re:GODDAMIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23038888)

If it werent for us and our sailing ships, gunpowder and steel youd still be eating grass, living in caves and speaking Cherokee.

Re:GODDAMIT (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23039642)

No, we'd still be in Europe, scrounging for scraps and yearning for wide open spaces.

still a little chilly (3, Informative)

HawkinsD (267367) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036656)

Maybe not room temperature, even in Siberia: by my advanced calculations, 200 K = minus 100 F (or -73 C).

But still very exciting.

Re:still a little chilly (1)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036686)

http://www.google.ca/search?q=200+kelvin+in+celsius [google.ca]
200 kelvin = -73.15 degrees Celsius

Re:still a little chilly (0)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036778)

0c = 273k
and
0k = -273k
and
1 unit C = 1 unit K

how the hell is 200k = -73.15c sounds like the .15 is a floating point error.. wonder if they are using java..

Re:still a little chilly (4, Interesting)

locofungus (179280) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036834)

The definition of the kelvin scale is 0K is absolute zero and 273.16K is the triple point of water. These two points are by definition.

Now the triple point of water is 0.01C

Hence the melting point of ice is 273.15K

Note, therefore, that a change of 1K only equals a change of 1C to the limit of experimental error.

Tim.

Re:still a little chilly (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037596)

ok.. so i was taught wrong

Re:still a little chilly (2, Informative)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23038198)

No, a change of 1C is exactly a change of 1K because they're defined that way. Which means that the melting point of ice is only approximately 0 C, or 273.15K, and that the boiling point of water is approximately 373.1339 K or 99.9839 C.

Temperature of water boiling IS approximate by (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23038760)

nature.

Boiling has to do w/ molecular excitement due to pressure gradients. If you take that water, and boil it in denver, You'll find no amount of exact measuring will come up w/ 373.1339 K

Please, remeber that sea level is a relative thing only to earth.

Re:Temperature of water boiling IS approximate by (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#23039614)

We can only make crappy tea up here because our boiling point is so low. ;)

Re:Temperature of water boiling IS approximate by (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23039700)

Haha... but you did get John Elway, so I guess it evens out...

I really like it there. It feels like Western WA because the mountains are allways in the background, it's just not green.

Re:Temperature of water boiling IS approximate by (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23039716)

While that's certainly true, you can't calibrate your thermometer to absolute zero.

Ideally you'd use two triple-points, but the problem there is that the thermometer itself is not exactly linear over the whole range, so you need to define two points that are close enough together that your thermometer is linear over that range, and covers the range you're interested in measuring.

If you were using boiling water as a calibration point, you'd boil it in a pressure vessel in Denver, set to 1013 millibar.

Re:Temperature of water boiling IS approximate by (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23040602)

hehe I knew there would be someone geek enough to show me that! Awesome! I was really not serious in the slightest, and can't believe that no one modded it funny yet!

Re:still a little chilly (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036858)

no, (s)he is right, 0K = -273.15C (altough I think that's still a rounded number)
0K = absolute lowest temperature possible.
0C = freezing temp of water at 1 atmospheric pressure.

Re:still a little chilly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23036918)

0 K is defined as -273.15 C aka the temperature at which nothing could be colder and no heat energy remains in a substance.

Re:still a little chilly (1)

svanderw (202961) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036930)

0K is absolute zero;
absolute zero is at -273.15C
so 200K would work out to -73.15C wouldn't it?

I've learned to trust Google; it's normally correct.

Re:still a little chilly (0, Redundant)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036934)

0 degrees C is defined [bipm.org] as 273.15 degrees K (exactly). People usually round down the .15 because it's more sig figs than they really need. Technically that means it's -99.67 degrees F.

Re:still a little chilly (1)

locofungus (179280) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037040)

0 degrees C is defined as 273.15 degrees K (exactly).

No. The triple point of water is defined to be 273.16K

(Which is what the page you've linked to says now I look at it!)

The triple point of water is at 0.01C to the limits of experiment. Hence 0C = 273.15K to the limits of experiment.

(Note that a change of 1K only equals a change of 1C to the limits of experiment. They are not required to be the same. One is 1/273.16 of the temperature difference between absolute zero and the triple point of water, the other 1/100 of the temperature difference between melting ice and boiling water.)

Tim.

Re:still a little chilly (1)

locofungus (179280) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037110)

(Note that a change of 1K only equals a change of 1C to the limits of experiment. They are not required to be the same. One is 1/273.16 of the temperature difference between absolute zero and the triple point of water, the other 1/100 of the temperature difference between melting ice and boiling water.)

Actually that's wrong.

Reading further 1 degree Celcius is defined to be identical to 1 degree centigrade and the triple point of water is defined to be 0.01C. So it's actually the melting point and boiling point that are not necessarily exactly 0C and 100C.

Tim.

Re:still a little chilly (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23039744)

Much as the inch is no longer a separate unit (it's defined as exactly 2.54 cm), C is not a separate unit from K.

Re:still a little chilly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23036958)

Uh no, I believe you are incorrect: 0 C = 273.15 K. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelvin

Re:still a little chilly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23037190)

ingorance is a bliss

precision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23037344)

how the hell is 200k = -73.15c sounds like the .15 is a floating point error..
How about: measurements get more precise with better instruments.

The original calculation of 0C=273K was determined in 1848.
The more precise value of 273.15K was measured and adopted in 1954.

Given the equipment and knowledge available in 1848, I'm quite impressed with the accuracy of the original calculation ( 0.1%).

Re:still a little chilly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23036758)

200 Kelvin? That should be enough for anybody.

In soviet russia, that is.

Re:still a little chilly (4, Interesting)

Colonel Sponsz (768423) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036872)

Maybe not room temperature, even in Siberia

O RLY? ;)

But yes, if this actually works in practice it's indeed exciting - while a room temperature superconductor is the Holy Grail of materials science, a 200 K superconductor is a great leap forward. A critical temperature of 200 K would make it possible to cool it with ordinary dry ice (CO2 sublimates at around 195 K) instead of LN2, which is much more expensive and difficult to handle.

Re:still a little chilly (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037830)

Of course LN2, being a liquid, is easier to pump around than the solid dry ice. Both have the beneficial properties of being non-explosive, though you have to be careful to ensure sufficient ventilation, especially if you're dealing with large amounts of it.

I wonder if 200k is reachable using some sort of heat pump system using a thin oil(so it remains liquid) as a medium?

Re:still a little chilly (4, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#23040282)

Now if they can make a superconductor at 640K, that should be enough for anybody!

- RG>

combine this nanoscale aluminum (2, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036722)

with my desktop cold fusion apparatus, and i can power los angeles from my basement!

seriously, i hope this pans out. this is earthshattering. if they can successfully scale the production process, combined with its functionality with cheap and nontoxic aluminum, then cheap room temperature superconduction in the general public will occur in our lifetimes, with all of the neergy saving and future device classes that this breakthrough implies

It's cool, but NOT because of superconductivity (4, Insightful)

FuzzyDaddy (584528) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037904)

This looks like a great piece of work, particularly on the theoretical side.

However, it's really unclear if it's possible to make a BULK superconductor out of this. The effect depends on a nanocluster having the correct number of atoms. Once you put two together you have - a nanocluster with the wrong number of atoms. Which is to say, a little piece of aluminum. Perhaps you could have a bunch of cluster that were separated enough to be weakly coupled so you could maintain the superconducting state, but allow current flow. But there's a whole lot of "ifs" between here and there.

What I find exciting about this is the ability to theoretically predict the properties of nanoclusters (to say nothing of fabricating and measuring them.) Understanding nanoclusters is a step in the direction of engineering bulk materials from first principles with the characteristics you need. You know how much time and effort went into discovering Halfnium as a component for a dielectric in transistor fabrication? Imagine if that could have been discovered by running a supercomputer for a while until it found the compound with the desired properties. THAT is where this will ultimately go.

mod parent up (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23038022)

mod parent up

minus 73 ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23036840)

Great! lets start an attraction park in north pole and build superconductor based rides!

i'M serious btw

Re:minus 73 ! (3, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037004)

Haven't you heard? Global warming means that the north pole is already booked for rainforest plantation next year. Though superconducting maglev rides do sound fun..

Re:minus 73 ! (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037974)

Mods on crack.. yada yada..

Re:minus 73 ! (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23038376)

Well, it's sure trying to get to that point. [bbc.co.uk] Looks like another big melt this summer, perhaps even another record-setter despite the cooling from last year's strong La Nina. :P

in soviet russia even our electrons (5, Funny)

museumpeace (735109) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036850)

put up no resistance...

oh never mind. the idea was Russian but the result was in the US

Re:in soviet russia even our electrons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23037922)

it's okay.... it's the same conclusion anyways... ;-)

Re:in soviet russia even our electrons (2, Funny)

aiwarrior (1030802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037944)

In Soviet Russia electrons displace metal Clusters to create superconducting Iron Curtains.

Sincerely Yours
Karma Whore

Dry Ice (5, Informative)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036866)

Carbon dioxide ( or dry-ice ) is bellow 195K at standard pressure, so this material wouldn't even need liquid nitrogen for cooling. If this can be made to scale it would without doubt give countless of applications.

Re:Dry Ice (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23037686)

And another sweet point is that superconductors are also superconductors of heat - we can make electric power transmission lines in form of hose (sort-a coaxial cable, actual wire in the center, coolant around it) filled with dry ice or other coolant and keep it all cooled by cooling the wire endpoints. It's very cool, isn't it?

This post CAN be used as prior art, right? Please don't mod funny, some people filter that out, I'm aiming for insightful.

Re:Dry Ice (3, Informative)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 6 years ago | (#23038038)

Not everything larry niven wrote in ringworld is literal truth....

Re:Dry Ice (1)

KingKiki217 (979050) | more than 6 years ago | (#23038532)

It's a shame there's no -1, LIES mod...

Re:Dry Ice (1)

pragma_x (644215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23038580)

Interesting thought - the increased surface area of the inside of the tube would allow for a higher cooling capacity for a given volume of coolant. However, you're talking about a *LOT* of coolant for transmission lines. The system supplying it would have to be something on par with what is used for city water. Insulating that mess is another problem. And then, how do you exchange the heat out, install heat sinks on the towers perhaps?

There's also the concern of what is an acceptable failure mode is for such a system. Right now, aluminum cable is used for high-tension lines, but the only way it can fail is if a line snaps, or if a tower breaks. Adding coolant to the mix creates another thing that must not fail, and is more likely to fail at that.

Re:Dry Ice (0, Troll)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23038876)

So, we're going to let hundreds of thousands of GED-wielding line technicians handle thousands of miles of superconductive cabling that probably gets priced by the nanogram, surrounded by a coolant so cold that your first screwup leaves you an amputee on a good day, in order to deliver power to your endpoints without resistance. Then we're going to leave it there and hope nobody's around when a tree branch falls on it, or some moron tosses his sneakers up there, or little tommy just can't aim his BB gun. Sounds great.
Or... maybe you could just cool the things that need to be superconductive.

Re:Dry Ice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23039372)

Well, I was hoping to not need to recycle the coolant - idea is to evacuate the heat through the best (ideal) heat conductor in the setup, and that is the wire itself. Coolant (dry ice) is there just to initially "start" it (put the wire into superconducting mode) and to provide heat inertia (and perhaps early indication of possible malfunction).
Admittedly, I have no idea for insulation ... aerogel, perhaps? Restarting the superconductivity of line after breakage would suck, too. It would have to be done section a time, beginning at the power source (station), then powering next regeneration station, etc. Of, course, dry ice would sublimate out very quickly, unless it is kept pressurized inside the cable.

What's a "strong" superconductor? (4, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036878)

Isn't that like a "strong" Superman?

What would that make a "weak" superconductor? A conductor?

Yours sincerely,
- Puzzled, Intartubes.

Re:What's a "strong" superconductor? (3, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037144)

Not sure. I'm no expert but I believe that many higher temperature superconductors lose their superconductivity if exposed to strong magnetic fields. You could say these are weak superconductors in a way.

Whereas the "conventional" liquid helium superconductors can retain their superconductivity in very strong magnetic fields.

Being able to "tolerate" strong magnetic fields is very useful if you actually are intending to use the superconductors in many interesting applications - like MRI scanning devices, or maglev stuff and so on.

Re:What's a "strong" superconductor? (4, Informative)

ParanoidJanitor (959839) | more than 6 years ago | (#23039956)

There is a limit to how much current superconductors can carry before they become non-superconducting (depends on the material and the cross-section of the specific chunk of material.) A strong superconductor will be able to carry more electrons while remaining in the superconducting phase.

Size matters (1)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036892)

It looks like the size of this is pretty darn small (Figure 1 shows plots of heat capacities determined for aluminum cluster anions with 43-48 atoms for temperatures below room temperature. At that size, it's not particularly useful except when creating tiny electronics. I'm not sure you can string together these tiny atom clusters and get the same effect. Sadly that means we can't send power across the country without significant energy loss.

Idiots... (1)

-Tango21- (703195) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036894)

...everyone knows the right number of nanoclusters is 42!

Re:Idiots... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23037404)

Thanks for all the fish

obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23036938)

In sovt. russia, metal nonoclusters conduct you !

200K (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23036998)

That's -73.15 celcius, or -99.67 Fahrenheit. 294.3 Kelvin would be a very comfortable temperature for superconductivity, I wonder if I'll see it in my lifetime?

Coldest Temperature (North America): [islandnet.com] -81.4 oF/-63 oC, Snag, Yukon, Canada, February 3, 1947

Re:200K (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037106)

With the way the science has been going, I wouldn't be surprised to see room temperature (300k) superconductors in my lifetime. Practical use may take longer, but thus far the field has been quite exciting.

Re:200K (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037310)

With the way the science has been going, I wouldn't be surprised to see a 400K room temperature in my lifetime. Bah, to be fair, I also expect my lifetime to exceed 300...

Re:200K (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23040648)

Well, I expect both of them in both you guys' lifetimes, but I'm a geezer.

Thank God for that, I'd hate to live another 246 years of the hell I've already lived through.

Exact? (5, Funny)

TimothyDavis (1124707) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037072)

A couple of years ago, two Russian physicists predicted that metal nanoclusters with exactly the right number of delocalized electrons (a few hundred or so) could become strong superconductors.

That is the number range for exact ?

Re:Exact? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23037770)

Almost, but not quite entirely unlike a few hundreds.

Slashdot News... (1)

clevergeek (966309) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037140)

>>There are a few caveats, however. The result is only partial evidence of superconductivity and the work has yet to be peer-reviewed. But its mere publication will set >>scientists scrambling to confirm If slashdot has taught me anything lately, it's that "partial evidence" and "yet to be peer-reviewed" = bullshit. Without getting overly trollish about it, the coolest news of the moment that isn't true and isn't news....isn't all that cool...? There's still some great content, and I'll keep coming back as long as the +5 comments keep cracking me up...but the vapor seems a little thick these days.

Grain of salt (2, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037142)

The result is only partial evidence of superconductivity and the work has yet to be peer-reviewed. But its mere publication will set scientists scrambling to confirm.
Why the hell did they publish before peer review? That ain't how science is supposed to work.

Re:Grain of salt (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23037306)

The result is only partial evidence of superconductivity and the work has yet to be peer-reviewed. But its mere publication will set scientists scrambling to confirm.


Why the hell did they publish before peer review? That ain't how science is supposed to work.
It's called arxiv and it's a beautiful thing.

Re:Grain of salt (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037312)

The result is only partial evidence of superconductivity and the work has yet to be peer-reviewed. But its mere publication will set scientists scrambling to confirm.
Why the hell did they publish before peer review? That ain't how science is supposed to work.
The article "Preprint" on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] appears to disagree with your assessment.

Re:Grain of salt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23038182)

Well yeah, of course Wikipedia would say that... think about it... ;p

Re:Grain of salt (1)

KanshuShintai (694567) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037458)

FTFA:

Jarrold and his team are simply time-stamping their efforts by publishing on the arxiv and you can bet your bottom dollar that they're looking for other evidence right now.

Re:Grain of salt (4, Informative)

PhysicsPhil (880677) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037496)

Why the hell did they publish before peer review? That ain't how science is supposed to work.

It is common practice in many scientific disciplines to publish a preprint of work before it is submitted for publication. This has the advantage of rapidly disseminating advances to the scientific community and to the world at large, since it's a public server. In the case of work in competitive fields, posting a preprint helps establish priority in who did what first.

Because it's not peer reviewed and the preprint server is open to all, preprints must be taken with a grain of salt. Their value depends largely on the author's reputation within the scientific community. If the person who published this work is known to have produced good work in the past and/or works with those who have produced reliable work, the report within the preprint is generally taken at face value.

Re:Grain of salt (2, Informative)

Trintech (1137007) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037550)

The result is only partial evidence of superconductivity and the work has yet to be peer-reviewed. But its mere publication will set scientists scrambling to confirm.
Why the hell did they publish before peer review? That ain't how science is supposed to work.
Please read this [wikipedia.org] or at least the following excerpt:

In academic publishing, a paper is an academic work that is usually published in an academic journal. It contains original research results or reviews existing results. Such a paper, also called an article, will only be considered valid if it undergoes a process of peer review by one or more referees (who are academics in the same field) in order to check that the content of the paper is suitable for publication in the journal. A paper may undergo a series of reviews, edits and re-submissions before finally being accepted or rejected for publication. This process typically takes several months. Next there is often a delay of many months (or in some subjects, over a year) before publication, particularly for the most popular journals where the number of acceptable articles outnumbers the space for printing. Due to this, many academics offer a 'pre-print' copy of their paper for free download from their personal or institutional website.

Re:Grain of salt (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23037554)

Because:
1) your work will get quick attention from a lot of peers if you do this way. They may refute your results before they get to @press@.
2) you have less chances that someone else publish the same result earlier than you, just because long referring tracks (aka "meticulous referees")
3) science works the way the peer community thinks it should -that is science-. And right now the community accepts this behavior.
4) nobody is lying. Everybody knows that these results must be verified by others before being engraved on an ivory tower.

Re:Grain of salt (2, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23038292)

3) science works the way the peer community thinks it should -that is science-. And right now the community accepts this behavior.

I subscribe to Richard Feynman's idea of scientific integrity [lhup.edu] , which I suppose is why I don't fit into the "peer community."

Quoth Feynman:

It's a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty--a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid--not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked--to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

You say no one is lying. Maybe so, but it seems very common, especially in "science by press release," to be quite selective with the truth.

Re:Grain of salt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23040320)

There is no such thing as "science by press release". Yes, there are press releases. Yes, they are often inaccurate and misleading. But they are part of the fundraising process, not the scientific process.

Re:Grain of salt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23038944)

This brings up a good point: People need to realize that posting something to the arXiv does not count as "publication". Nothing there is peer reviewed. It mainly serves to provide your colleagues with a heads-up, and also offers a nice electronic source for papers even after they are peer reviewed by a real journal. (Always check the citation on the abstract page to see which journal it ended up in, if any!)

Lots of stuff in the arXiv is never published, or comes from non-journal sources, like conference proceedings and the occasional book. And there is a small fraction of crackpot junk, of course. The fact that reviewed and unreviewed documents commingle on the same server definitely doesn't help reduce the confusion.

Dis ain't that significant (3, Insightful)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037450)

It's a big jump from superconductivity in 45 or 47 atoms and usable superconductivity.

For instance, a usable superconductor has to be able to tolerate a strong magnetic field, i.e. substantial current. Plenty of alloys are superconducting but cannot carry much current.

And very basic: temperature is a very hazy concept when applied to a small cluster of atoms. What's the acceptable range of energies? Very significant.

Re:Dis ain't that significant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23037676)

The temperature is not the cluster temperature, but the substrate it is glued on (macroscopic property)

Almost room temperature... (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037906)

on Mars!

200K is not that cold (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#23037924)

.."is" 200k in Soviet Russia... in the summertime! aaa ha ha ha!

(note: this is the variant of the ISR joke where you insert something and then "is this something in soviet russia... in the summertime! AAA HA HA HA)

The important question is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23038078)

when do we have a working stargate

I was under the impression.... (1)

martin_henry (1032656) | more than 6 years ago | (#23038854)

...that room temp was defined by the temperature people prefer indoors.
Imagine a beowulf cluster of these clusters...maybe that's a strong superconductor?

What good is a superconducting nanoparticle? (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 6 years ago | (#23039624)

Surely, a composite made from superconducting nanoparticles would not be superconducting (though it may be a good conductor). So what use is a superconductor if it has to be so small?

Also, they measured a dramatic change in heat capacity @ 200K, which may be an indication of a superconducting phase transition. It also may be some other phase transition. They're still looking for direct evidence it's a superconducter.

45 or 47? WRONG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23040250)

"Now an American group has found the first evidence that this prediction is correct in individual aluminum nanoclusters containing 45 or 47 atoms."

They're wrong. The right number is 42. It's obvious.
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