Scientists Create “Reddmatter” – Game-Changing Room-Temperature Superconductor

In addition to increasing the temperature, scientists have also decreased the pressure necessary to produce superconductivity.

Researchers from the University of Rochester have achieved a remarkable feat by developing a superconducting material with low enough temperature and pressure for use in real-world uses.

Ranga Dias, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and of physics, and his colleagues claim that with the development of this substance, ambient superconductivity and applied technologies have finally come. The scientists describe a nitrogen-doped lutetium hydride (NDLH) that displays superconductivity at 69 degrees Fahrenheit and 10 kilobars (145,000 pounds per square inch, or psi), in a paper that was published on March 8 in the magazine Nature.

Pressure at sea level is about 15 psi, so 145,000 psi may still seem like a very high pressure, but strain engineering methods are frequently used in chip production, for example, and integrate materials kept together by even greater internal chemical pressures.

This development in condensed matter physics has been the focus of research for more than a century. Electrical resistance disappears, and magnetic fields that are emitted travel around the superconducting substance, which is one of their two main characteristics. These compounds might allow:

networks that transfer electricity without losing the energy it transmits by up to 200 million megawatt hours (MWh) per year due to resistance in the lines

Levitating, frictionless high-speed trains

Techniques for medical imaging and screening that are more reasonably priced include MRI and magnetocardiography

Electronics that are quicker and more effective for use in digital logic and memory device technology

Tokamak devices that contain plasmas using magnetic fields to accomplish fusion as an infinite source of power

The Dias team previously published articles in Nature and Physical Review Letters describing the creation of two materials, carbonaceous sulfur hydride and yttrium superhydride, which are superconducting at 58 degrees Fahrenheit/39 million psi and 12 degrees Fahrenheit/26 million psi, respectively.

Given the significance of the new finding, Dias and his team took unusual measures to record their work and fend off critique that emerged after the previous Nature paper, which resulted in the journal's editors retracting the article. According to Dias, the earlier article has been resubmitted to Nature with fresh evidence corroborating the earlier findings. The new information was gathered in the open, in front of scientists who witnessed the superconducting shift firsthand, at the Argonne and Brookhaven National Labs. The new study has adopted a similar strategy.

Nathan Dasenbrock-Gammon, Elliot Snider, Raymond McBride, Hiranya Pasan, and Dylan Durkee are named as co-lead writers along with other graduate students from Dias's lab. Everyone in the company participated in carrying out the tests, according to Dias. "It was really a team endeavor,"

A startling change can be seen.

Researchers have recently discovered an intriguing "working formula" for making superconducting materials, which involves combining rare earth metals with hydrogen, followed by adding nitrogen or carbon. Technically speaking, rare earth metal hydrides take the shape of cage-like structures called clathrates, where the rare earth metal ions serve as carrier donors and supply enough electrons to promote the breakup of the H2 molecules. Carbon and nitrogen aid in substance stabilization. The bottom line is that superconductivity can arise at lower pressures.

Researchers have also used other rare earth elements besides yttrium. However, at pressures or temps that are still impractical for uses, the resulting compounds turn superconductive.

Therefore, Dias turned his gaze elsewhere on the periodic chart this time.

As for a "good option to test," Dias says lutetium appeared. Its f orbital arrangement contains 14 highly localized fully-filled electrons, which reduce phonon softening and improve the electron-phonon interaction necessary for superconductivity to occur at room temperature. How will we stabilize this to reduce the needed pressure was the crucial issue. In this situation, nitrogen entered the scene.

According to Dias, nitrogen strengthens the low-frequency optical phonons and, like carbon, has a solid atomic structure that can be used to build a more secure, cage-like lattice within a substance. Because of the durability of this structure, superconductivity can exist at reduced pressures.

A pure sample of lutetium was put in a reaction container with a gas combination made of 99 percent hydrogen and 1 percent nitrogen. The mixture was then allowed to react for two to three days at 392 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to the study, the resulting lutetium-nitrogen-hydrogen compound had a "lustrous bluish hue" at first. A "startling visual change" took place when the compound was squeezed in a diamond anvil cell. It went from blue to pink at the beginning of superconductivity to a brilliant red metallic state that wasn't superconducting.

It was a very vivid crimson, according to Dias. "I was astounded to see such vivid hues. We jokingly proposed the code name "reddmatter" for the substance at this stage after the substance Spock invented in the well-liked 2009 Star Trek film. The cipher moniker endured.

The prior low pressure produced in Dias's lab is nearly two orders of magnitude higher than the 145,000 psi pressure needed to cause superconductivity.

Machine learning for predicting novel superconducting materials

It has been determined that superconducting material can exist at ambient temps and pressures low enough for useful uses thanks to financing from Dias's National Science Foundation CAREER award and a grant from the US Department of Energy.

The development of magnetic confinement for fusion, as well as a route toward superconducting consumer devices, energy transmission lines, and transit, according to Dias, are now possible. We think that the contemporary superconducting age has arrived.

For instance, Dias believes that the development of tokamak machines will advance significantly faster thanks to the nitrogen-doped lutetium hydride. Tokamaks depend on strong magnetic fields produced by a doughnut-shaped enclosure to capture, hold, and spark super-heated plasmas rather than using strong, convergent laser beams to implode a fuel pellet. NDLH "will be a game-changer" for the developing technology, according to Dias, as it generates a "enormous magnetic field" at room temperature.

The potential to combine and match from thousands of different possible combinations of rare earth metals, nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon is particularly exciting, according to Dias, because it could be used to teach machine-learning algorithms to forecast other potential superconducting materials.

We use a variety of metals in our daily lives for various purposes, so Dias asserts that we will also require a variety of superconducting materials. "We need more ambient superconductors for various uses, just as we use different metals for different applications."

Keith Lawlor, a co-author, has already started creating programs and performing computations using the supercomputing capabilities offered by the Center for Integrated Research Computing at the University of Rochester.

A center for superconducting elements in rural New York?

Recently, the study team of Dias relocated to a bigger lab on the third level of Hopeman Hall on the River Campus. He claims that this is the first phase of an audacious plan to establish the University of Rochester's Center for Superconducting Innovation (CSI), which will award degrees.

In order to progress the study of superconductivity, the center would foster an environment that would attract new academics and researchers to the university. The pool of scholars in the area would grow as a result of the trained pupils.

The goal, according to Dias, is to establish rural New York as a center for superconducting technology.