Room-temperature superconductor

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A room-temperature superconductor is a hypothetical material that would be capable of exhibiting superconductivity at operating temperatures above 0° C (273.15 K). While this is not strictly "room temperature", which would be approximately 20–25 °C, it is the temperature at which ice forms and can be reached and easily maintained in an everyday environment. The highest temperature known superconducting materials are the cuprates, which have demonstrated superconductivity at atmospheric pressure at temperatures as high as ‑135 °C (138 K).[1]

It is unknown whether any material exhibiting room-temperature superconductivity exists. Although research into room-temperature superconductivity[2][3] may produce no result, superconductivity has repeatedly been discovered at temperatures that were previously unexpected or held to be impossible.

Finding a room temperature superconductor "would have enormous technological importance and, for example, help to solve the world’s energy problems, provide for faster computers, allow for novel memory-storage devices, and enable ultra-sensitive sensors, among many other possibilities."[3]


Since the discovery of high-temperature superconductors, several materials have been reported to be room-temperature superconductors, although none of these reports has been confirmed.

In 2000, while extracting electrons from diamond during ion implantation work, Johan Prins claimed to have observed a phenomenon that he explained as room-temperature superconductivity within a phase formed on the surface of oxygen-doped type IIa diamonds in a 10−6 mbar vacuum.[4]

In 2003, a group of researchers published results on high-temperature superconductivity in palladium hydride (PdHx: x>1)[5] and an explanation in 2004.[6] In 2007 the same group published results suggesting a superconducting transition temperature of 260 K.[7] The superconducting critical temperature increases as the density of hydrogen inside the palladium lattice increases. This work has not been corroborated by other groups.

In 2012, an Advanced Materials article claimed superconducting behavior of graphite powder after treatment with pure water at temperatures as high as 300 K and above.[8] So far, the authors have not been able to demonstrate the occurrence of a clear Meissner phase and the vanishing of the material's resistance.

In 2014, an article published in Nature suggested that some materials, notably YBCO (yttrium barium copper oxide), could be made to superconduct at room temperature using infrared laser pulses.[9]


Theoretical work by Neil Ashcroft predicted that solid metallic hydrogen at extremely high pressure (~500 GPa) should become superconducting at approximately room-temperature because of its extremely high speed of sound and expected strong coupling between the conduction electrons and the lattice vibrations (phonons).[10] This prediction is yet to be experimentally verified, as yet the pressure to achieve metallic hydrogen is not known but may be of the order of 500 GPa.

In 1964, William A. Little proposed the possibility of high temperature superconductivity in organic polymers.[11] This proposal is based on the exciton-mediated electron pairing, as opposed to phonon-mediated pairing in BCS theory.


  1. ^ P. Dai, B.C. Chakoumakos, G.F. Sun, K.W. Wong, Y. Xin, D.F. Lu (1995). "Synthesis and neutron powder diffraction study of the superconductor HgBa2Ca2Cu3O8 + δ by Tl substitution". Physica C 243 (3-4): 201–206. Bibcode:1995PhyC..243..201D. doi:10.1016/0921-4534(94)02461-8. 
  2. ^ "Workshop on the Road to Room Temperature Superconductivity" (PDF). 
  3. ^ a b "Almaden Institute 2012 : Superconductivity 297K – Synthetic Routes to Room Temperature Superconductivity". 
  4. ^ Prins, JF (2003). "The diamond–vacuum interface: II. Electron extraction from n-type diamond: evidence for superconduction at room temperature" (PDF). Semiconductor Science and Technology 18. Bibcode:2003SeScT..18S.131P. doi:10.1088/0268-1242/18/3/319. 
  5. ^ Tripodi, P.; Di Gioacchino, D.; Borelli, R.; Vinko, J. D. (May 2003). "Possibility of high temperature superconducting phases in PdH". Physica C: Superconductivity. 388-389: 571–572. Bibcode:2003PhyC..388..571T. doi:10.1016/S0921-4534(02)02745-4. 
  6. ^ Tripodi, P.; Di Gioacchino, D.; Vinko, J. D. (August 2004). "Superconductivity in PdH: Phenomenological explanation". Physica C: Superconductivity. 408-410: 350–352. Bibcode:2004PhyC..408..350T. doi:10.1016/j.physc.2004.02.099. 
  7. ^ Tripodi, P.; Di Gioacchino, D.; Vinko, J. D. (2007). "A review of high temperature superconducting property of PdH system". International Journal of Modern Physics B 21 (18&19): 3343–3347. Bibcode:2007IJMPB..21.3343T. doi:10.1142/S0217979207044524. 
  8. ^ Scheike, T.; Böhlmann, Esquinazi, Barzola-Quiquia, Ballestar, Setzer (2012). "Can Doping Graphite Trigger Room Temperature Superconductivity? Evidence for Granular High-Temperature Superconductivity in Water-Treated Graphite Powder". Advanced Materials. doi:10.1002/adma.201202219. 
  9. ^ Mankowsky, R.; Subedi, A.; Först, M.; Mariager, S. O.; Chollet, M.; Lemke, H. T.; Robinson, J. S.; Glownia, J. M.; Minitti, M. P.; Frano, A.; Fechner, M.; Spaldin, N. A.; Loew, T.; Keimer, B.; Georges, A.; Cavalleri, A. (2014). "Nonlinear lattice dynamics as a basis for enhanced superconductivity in YBa2Cu3O6.5". Nature 516 (7529): 71–73. arXiv:1405.2266. Bibcode:2014Natur.516...71M. doi:10.1038/nature13875. 
  10. ^ N. W. Ashcroft (1968). "Metallic Hydrogen: A High-Temperature Superconductor?". Physical Review Letters 21 (26): 1748–1749. Bibcode:1968PhRvL..21.1748A. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.21.1748. 
  11. ^ W. A. Little (1964). "Possibility of Synthesizing an Organic Superconductor". Physical Review 134: A1416–A1424. Bibcode:1964PhRv..134.1416L. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.134.A1416.