Physicists find superconductors at new high temperatures

A team of physical scientists has found a new superconducting material at very high temperatures, reaching a record ever.

A team of physical scientists has found a new superconducting material at very high temperatures, reaching a record ever. The results of their research, supported by a grant from the Russian Science Foundation, were published in Material Today.

The team of scientists led by Artem Oganov of Skoltech (Skolkovo Academy of Science and Technology) and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), and Ivan Troyan of the Institute of Crystals of the Russian Academy (RAS) succeeded in synthesizing thorium decahydride (ThH10) , a new superconducting material at very high temperatures, 161 degrees Kelvins, or -112 degrees Celsius.

Picture 1 of Physicists find superconductors at new high temperatures Photo 1 of Physicists find superconductors at new high temperatures
The crystal structure of thorium decahydride (ThH10).

A truly remarkable property of superconducting quantum materials is the complete loss of resistance in quite specific and sometimes very harsh conditions. Although there is tremendous potential for high-sensitivity quantum computers and detectors, the application of superconductors is hampered by their valuable properties that are usually only available at very low temperature or pressure conditions. Extremely high performance.

Until recently, the list of superconductors was topped by a cuprate-containing mercury superconductor (cuprate is only complex with many other elements, cuprate is derived from the Latin name for copper, cuprum), becoming become superconducting at 135 degrees K, or −138 degrees Celsius.

This year, lanthanum decahydride , LaH10, set a new record of −13 degrees Celsius, very close to room temperature. Unfortunately, this superconductor requires an approach pressure of up to 2 million atm (atmospheres), which is difficult to maintain in practical applications. Therefore, scientists continue the journey to find superconductors that retain their properties at standard conditions.

In 2018, Alexander Kvashnin, a researcher at Oganov's lab, predicted a new material, thorium polyhydride , or ThH10, to achieve superconductivity with temperatures up to −32 degrees Celsius, stable to lower pressures. 1 million atm. In a recent study, researchers from Skoltech, MIPT, the Crystal Institute and the Lebedev Institute of Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) successfully obtained ThH10 and studied transmission and superconductivity properties. its.

The team's findings corroborate theoretical predictions, proving that ThH10 exists at pressures above 0.85 million atm and exhibits incredible high-temperature superconductivity. Scientists can only determine the critical temperature at 0.7 million atm and find it at -112 degrees Celsius, in line with the theoretical prediction for that pressure value. This makes ThH10 one of the record high temperature superconductors.

Professor Artem Oganov from Skoltech and MIPT, who co-led the research, said: "Modern theory, and especially the USPEX method developed by myself and my students, once again shows the power of Its incredible predictive power, the ThH10 extends the boundaries of classical chemistry and possesses theoretically unique properties and has recently been confirmed by experiments. "The results from Ivan Troyan's lab are of very high quality."

Research co-author Ivan Troyan added : "We have found that the superconductivity predicted in theory exists at a temperature of -112 C and a pressure of 0.7 million atm. strong theoretical and experimental, it will be interesting to test whether ThH10 can exhibit superconductivity at temperatures up to −30 degrees C, −40 degrees C and lower pressures as predicted. "

According to Dmitry Semenok, the first author of the research and doctoral student at Skoltech: 'Thorium hydride is just one of the components in a large and rapidly growing hydride superconductor class. I believe that in the coming years, hydride superconductivity will expand beyond the frozen range to find applications in the design of electronic devices'.

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