Scientists Create Zero-Resistance Superconductor

According to reports, Japanese scientist Yoichi Kamihara has discovered a zero resistance superconductor. Layered in iron and stabilized with phosphorous, the superconductor has a negative resistance at 269º Celsius. Currently he is researching ways to replace the phosphorous with other elements including arsenic.

It’s no mystery that scientists are looking for ways for superconductors to function at room temperature without resistance (loss of energy). Iron-based superconductors are fairly new and still in the experimental stages, labeled as the "next generation of high temperature superconductors." Over the last 20 years, copper was the key element in superconductors that worked above liquid-helium temperatures.

But a high-temperature superconductor with zero resistance at room temperature means that there is no need for coolant systems filled to the brim with liquid nitrogen. The superconductor doesn’t overheat and doesn’t require an absolute zero atmosphere, thus providing a steady stream of energy without deterioration. Generally, superconductivity usually occurs in low temperature environments. Currently, brittle ceramics are the commonly used superconductors, but are difficult to reshape (wires etc) and are extremely expensive.

Working out of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Kamihara’s discovery is certainly a prominent one. The implications of the discovery could be phenomenal and even devastating to certain portions of the technological market. Right now the biggest usage of superconductivity stems from the medical field, creating the stable magnetic fields used in MRI and NMR. A superconductor that doesn’t require cooling is not only good for the environment, but good for the end-user’s wallet.

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  • michaelzehr
    There's something odd about this announcement. It's a bit odd to call something a "zero resistance superconductor" because all superconductors have zero resistance. "Negative resistance" is an odd phrase. There's negative differential resistance, but that happens outside of the superconducting state. Another press release described it as no resistance at negative 269C, which is about 4K, which isn't all that warm, and definitely not room-temperature (269K isn't room temperature either, but is a phenomenal jump from the previous high temp record for superconducting). Of course 269C is way above room temperature, which would be pretty odd too. Perhaps the truth is that the researcher has discovered malleable superconductors (because of the reference to wires and iron) at 4K. That may be a step forward but then the headline isn't correct. I'm wondering if this came from some sort of automatic translation? Otherwise it's pretty odd and the differences in the other press releases are pretty strange too.

    The article says the researcher is trying to replace the phosphorous with arsenic, but the university of Tokyo announced earlier this year discovery of a "anthanum oxygen fluorine iron arsenide" that superconducts up to 26K, which sounds like they've already stabilized an iron/arsenic compound. The latest record I heard of was superconductivity at 55K

    It's also odd to describe something like this as "devastating" -- it would actually be awesome!
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  • Anonymous
    i hope you mean -269 C, or 4 degrees above absolute 0 :P
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  • LAN_deRf_HA
    What would having room temperature superconducting do for the world?
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