Since the discovery of superconductors—materials that conduct electricity without resistance—back in 1911, their use has always been limited by the fact that they only work at below-freezing temperatures. A groundbreaking new study reports the discovery of a superconductor capable of working at room temperature, which not only liberates the material from its historic constraints but also opens doors to new applications of electric energy (like, for instance, levitating trains). This new superconductor is composed of the rare earth metal lutetium, hydrogen and a bit of nitrogen that is then compressed to a pressure of 14,500 pounds per square inch. According to the study, this composition can create superconductors that work at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Learn more about this development at The New York Times.
Image by J Adam Fenster, courtesy of University of Rochester