The world of energy and electronics may transform as a result of the discovery of a new superconductor material, according to a team of scientists. The breakthrough might pave the way for hovering trains and ultra-efficient electrical grids.
According to the New Scientist, an assistant professor named Ranga Dias at the University of Rochester in New York and his colleagues claim to have made a material from hydrogen, nitrogen, and lutetium that becomes superconductive at a temperature of just 69 degrees Fahrenheit and a pressure of 1 gigapascal. That is nearly 10,000 times the atmospheric pressure on Earth’s surface, but still a far lower pressure than any previous superconducting material.
“Let’s say you were riding a horse in the 1940s when you saw a Ferrari driving past you-that’s the level of difference between previous experiments and this one,” says Dias.
In a paper in Nature, the researchers describe how they combined the three components to create the material by pressing it between two diamond anvils, a device that compresses materials to extremely high pressures.
Its colour shifted from blue to red when the substance was crushed, earning the term “red matter” from the researchers.
“With this material, the dawn of ambient superconductivity and applied technologies has arrived,” according to a team led by Ranga Dias, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and physics.
“A pathway to superconducting consumer electronics, energy transfer lines, transportation, and significant improvements of magnetic confinement for fusion are now a reality,” said Professor Dias said in a statement.
“We believe we are now at the modern superconducting era.”
According to these scientists, this miracle material has superconducting properties that could enable:
- Power grids that transmit electricity without the loss of up to 200 million megawatt hours (MWh) of the energy that now occurs due to resistance in the wires
- Frictionless, levitating high-speed trains
- More affordable medical imaging and scanning techniques such as MRI and magnetocardiography
- Faster, more efficient electronics for digital logic and memory device technology
- Tokamak machines that use magnetic fields to confine plasmas to achieve fusion as a source of unlimited power
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