Mar 9, 2023

Record room-temperature superconductor could boost quantum computer chips

Posted by in categories: chemistry, climatology, computing, particle physics, quantum physics, sustainability

Companies could one day make superconductive quantum computer chips that function at room temperature thanks to a new material from researchers in the US. Ranga Dias from the University of Rochester and colleagues made a material superconductive at 21°C and pressures less than 1% of those used for existing high-temperature superconductors. ‘The most exciting part is the pressure,’ Dias tells Chemistry World. ‘Even I didn’t think this was possible.’

Together with Ashkan Salamat’s team at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the scientists say that electrical resistance in their nitrogen-doped lutetium hydride falls to zero at room temperature. Making room-temperature zero-resistance materials is a chemistry ‘holy grail’ and could fight climate change by reducing the 5% of electricity lost as heat while flowing through the grid.

However, Dias and Salamat’s team hasn’t been able to fully confirm the new material’s structure. As hydrogen atoms are so small they don’t easily diffract the x-rays used to work out the material’s composition. And this is an important reservation, considering the publisher of the team’s previous high-temperature superconductor paper retracted it.

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