Superconductivity at Room Temperature

Researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc)-Bangalore have reported observing superconductivity at room temperature, in a new composite material made of gold and silver.


Superconductivity is defined as a phenomenon in which the electrical resistivity suddenly drops to zero at its transition temperature. The phenomenon was first discovered in 1911 in mercury (Hg).

Electricity is conducted through the movement of free electrons in a conducting material like copper. The movement of electrons is random and haphazard. As a result, they frequently collide with one another, and with other particles in the material, thus offering resistance to the flow of current.

In a superconducting state, all the electrons align themselves in a particular direction and move without any obstruction in a coherent manner. Superconductivity has been found to occur in many metallic elements, intermetallic compounds, organo-metallic compounds, semiconductors and ceramics.

Discovery from Researchers of IISc

Superconductivity so far was observed only at extremely low temperatures, in the range of 100 C below zero. The search for a material that exhibits superconductivity at room temperature has been going on for decades.

Because of zero resistance, superconducting materials can save huge amounts of energy, and be used to make highly efficient electrical appliances. But the inability to find a material exhibiting superconductivity at room temperature was the biggest impediment in its practical application to build energy efficient devices. If the discovery from the researchers from IISc stands confirmed, it could be one of the biggest breakthroughs in physics in this century so far.

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