The Potential of Superconductors

The Potential of Superconductors

Superconductors are a revolutionary technology yet to be harnessed…

Superconductivity means there’s a lossless power transfer when electrons travel freely through a material. While we already have these superconductors, currently, we need to cool them down to insanely low temperatures for any effect.

Maglev trains use superconductors to levitate a train full of passengers off the ground while propelling the train faster than any other currently available technology. MRI machines use these superconductor coils to see into human flesh through moving electrons. However, the need to cool these materials down to reasonable temperatures makes them impractical on larger scales.

Room temperature superconductors would alleviate a multitude of problems around the world, providing clean, renewable, and cheap energy for the entire planet. Superconductors would tremendously help solar farms in Africa. People around the world could store energy and transfer it as needed. This technology is a holy grail.

This brings us to more recent news: the announcement of LK-99 as a room-temperature superconductor. LK-99 was made by a team of South Korean researchers who chose to publish their results on a pre-published website. However, the publication raised some red flags. The first paper posted on Archive had three authors, and then just two hours later, a similar paper was published with 5 authors. This was definitely seen as an odd choice, hinting towards a fight for recognition of the new discovery. The team had also included precise replication instructions in the publication, and after 11 labs, had published preliminary results. Soon, a video surfaced of the material slightly levitating over magnets, drawing a lot of attention. However, the material was found not to be a superconductor but actually an insulator. The world was still excited about the discovery since harnessing the power of superconductivity is comparable to having a superpower.

Now, the search for the perfect material continues. Whoever finds it will have their names marked into human history forever.

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