First Room-Temp Superconductor Seems Suspect

Posted on Sunday, Aug 13, 2023 by Ned Bellavance

Featured in this episode of Tech News of the Week

On July 22nd, a team of researchers from the Quantum Energy Research Centre and KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology published a paper claiming they had created a room-temperature stable superconductor. The material, called LK-99, was created from lead, oxygen, sulfur, phosphorus, and copper, mixed and heated to 925 degrees Celsius in a vacuum chamber.

The researchers claim that the resulting material has near zero resistivity at room temperature. Superconductors are immensely useful, and so far have only been created by applying high pressure or incredible cold, like 0 Kelvin cold.

The paper has produced a flurry of activity in the scientific community, with some scrambling to try and reproduce the team’s results, while others remain incredibly skeptical about the team’s claims. The paper’s results only show the Meissener effect, which is indicative of superconductivity, but not direct proof. Additionally, the team may have forged some of their credentials and the paper is not peer reviewed.

Still, I’m pulling for a positive result. We could all use some good news on the science front, since everything else is a complete disaster.