Components capable of conducting electricity without any resistance and without dependence on special cooling have been discussed for years, in addition to being an objective hitherto unfulfilled.
Considered true technological miracles, since they could be used in several sectors, such as power distribution networks and transport (levitation of trains, for example), the need for low temperatures for these components to work is a difficult barrier to circumvent, considered as impassable for decades.
Fortunately, scientists are dedicated – and a lot – to the study of these tools, which resulted in an unprecedented feat published yesterday (14) in the magazine Nature: a group of researchers obtained the so-called superconductivity at room temperature (13.3 ° C), surpassing previously reached marks.
Conducting electricity without loss of efficiency is the promise of the components.Source: Pexels
For the experiment, Elliot Snider, the study leader, and his team created a sulfur and carbon compound (in a one-to-one ratio) and, subjecting it to pressures approximately 2.5 million times greater than the air that we breathe, exerted by 2 diamonds, injected hydrogen in the small balls originating from the mixture.
In the process, a laser was responsible for breaking the bonds between the atoms, changing the chemistry of the system and the behavior of the sample electrons – ultimately generating a crystal with the expected “powers”, albeit minimal (with about 30 millionths of a meter in diameter).
Atypical conditions are essential because, unlike what occurs in common conductors, electrons must not easily release themselves from their currents and turn into heat, which leads to loss of efficiency – a process that has been studied by theorists for decades with various elements.
Although everything seems to be calculated accurately, it seems that the result was just an accident, as scientists are not sure what exactly was created or why it worked. Now, they run after the answers.
A lot needs to be explained.Source: Unsplash
The sky is the limit
The achievement represents a further step towards a disruptive future. José Flores-Livas, computational physicist at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Italy, who did not participate in the research, says that with the application of half the pressures used in the experiment, the industrialization of high-resolution super-tiny sensors would become possible, revolutionizing Medicine and data storage – just to begin with.
Ralph Scheicher, computational modeler at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, is betting higher: according to him, larger superconductors capable of operating at ambient temperature and pressure will become reality in up to 1 decade. The consequence? Taking into account that about 5% of the electricity generated by the United States is lost in its transmission and distribution, billions of dollars would be saved, not counting the climatic impact.
New energy systems can emerge from this evolution.Source: Unsplash
In short, superconductors would enable an entirely new system, whose components, smaller and cheaper, would also optimize the storage of renewable energy produced by wind turbines or solar cells. Quantum computing would benefit from another branch. Before that, it is necessary to curb expectations, since there is much to do.
According to the researchers, although hypothetical, this whole scenario is not out of the question, and this is the great asset of the finding: a superconducting material robust at room temperature that will transform energy savings, the processing of quantum information and the detection can be achievable. Will be?