Nav: Home

Thorium superconductivity: Scientists discover a new high-temperature superconductor

November 07, 2019

A group of scientists led by Artem Oganov, Professor at Skoltech and MIPT, and Dr. Ivan Troyan at the Institute of Crystallography of RAS have succeeded in synthesizing thorium decahydride (ThH10), a new superconducting material with a very high critical temperature (161 K). The results of their study supported by a Russian Science Foundation (RSF) grant were published in the journal Materials Today.

A truly remarkable property of quantum materials, superconductivity is a complete loss of electrical resistance under quite particular, and sometimes, very harsh conditions. Despite the tremendous potential for quantum computers and high-sensitivity detectors, the application of quantum materials is hindered by the fact that superconductivity typically manifests itself at very low temperatures or extremely high pressures. Until recently, the list of superconductors was topped by mercury-containing cuprate that becomes superconducting at 135 K (-138 °C). This year, lanthanum decahydride, LaH10, has set a new record of -13 oС, which is very close to room temperature, although in the case of LaH10 superconductivity is achieved at nearly 2 million atmospheres, a pressure that can hardly be attained in real life. It is important to achieve superconductivity at temperatures and pressures close to room levels. In 2018, Alexander Kvashnin, a research scientist at the lab directed by Skoltech and MIPT professor, Artem R. Oganov, predicted a new material, thorium polyhydride (ThH10), with a critical temperature of -32 oС at THE pressure of 1 million atmospheres.

In their recent study, scientists from the Institute of Crystallography of RAS, Skoltech, MIPT and the Lebedev Institute of Physics of RAS have successfully obtained ThH10 and studied its transport properties and superconductivity. Their findings corroborated the theoretical predictions, proving that ThH10 exists at pressures above 0.85 million atmospheres and displays outstanding high-temperature superconducting performance. The scientists could only determine the critical temperature at 1.7 million atmospheres and found it to be -112 oС, which is consistent with the theoretical prediction for this pressure value, placing ThH10 among the record-breaking high-temperature superconductors.

"Modern theory, and in particular, the USPEX method developed by myself and my students, yet again displayed their amazing predictive power. ThH10 pushes the boundaries of classical chemistry and possesses unique properties that were predicted theoretically and recently confirmed by experiment. Most notably, the experimental results obtained by Ivan Troyan's lab are of very high quality," says Artem R. Oganov, co-director of the study and professor at Skoltech and MIPT.

"We discovered that superconductivity predicted in theory does exist at -112 oС and 1.7 million atmospheres. Given the strong consistency between theory and experiment, it would be interesting to check whether ThH10 will show superconductivity at up to -30-40 °C and lower pressures as predicted," says co-director of the study, Dr. Ivan Troyan.

"Thorium hydride is just one of the elements in a large and rapidly growing class of hydride superconductors. I believe that in the coming years, hydride superconductivity will expand beyond the cryogenic range to find application in the design of electronic devices," says the first author of the study and Skoltech PhD student, Dmitry Semenok.
-end-


Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech)

Related Superconductivity Articles:

How a magnet could help boost understanding of superconductivity
Physicists have unraveled a mystery behind the strange behavior of electrons in a ferromagnet, a finding that could eventually help develop high temperature superconductivity.
New study explains why superconductivity takes place in graphene
Theoretical physicists take important step in development of high temperature superconductors.
Better studying superconductivity in single-layer graphene
A new study published in EPJ B demonstrates that an existing technique is better suited for probing superconductivity in pure, single-layer graphene than previously thought.
Stressing metallic material controls superconductivity
No strain, no gain -- that's the credo for Cornell researchers who have helped find a way to control superconductivity in a metallic material by stressing and deforming it.
First report of superconductivity in a nickel oxide material
Scientists at SLAC and Stanford have made the first nickel oxide material that shows clear signs of superconductivity - the ability to transmit electrical current with no loss.
A hallmark of superconductivity, beyond superconductivity itself
Physicists have found 'electron pairing,' a hallmark feature of superconductivity, at temperatures and energies well above the critical threshold where superconductivity occurs.
Manipulating superconductivity using a 'mechanic' and an 'electrician'
Strongly correlated materials can change their resistivity from infinity to zero with minute changes in conditions.
Triplet superconductivity demonstrated under high pressure
Researchers in France and Japan have demonstrated a theoretical type of unconventional superconductivity in a uranium-based material, according to a study published in the journal Physical Review Letters.
The mechanism of high-temperature superconductivity is found
Russian physicist Viktor Lakhno from Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics, RAS considers symmetrical bipolarons as a basis of high-temperature superconductivity.
Superconductivity is heating up
Theory suggests that metallic hydrogen should be a superconductor at room temperature; however, this material has yet to be produced in the lab.
More Superconductivity News and Superconductivity Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans 2.0
More than test scores or good grades–what do kids need for the future? This hour, TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, both during and after this time of crisis. Guests include educators Richard Culatta and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Space
One of the most consistent questions we get at the show is from parents who want to know which episodes are kid-friendly and which aren't. So today, we're releasing a separate feed, Radiolab for Kids. To kick it off, we're rerunning an all-time favorite episode: Space. In the 60's, space exploration was an American obsession. This hour, we chart the path from romance to increasing cynicism. We begin with Ann Druyan, widow of Carl Sagan, with a story about the Voyager expedition, true love, and a golden record that travels through space. And astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson explains the Coepernican Principle, and just how insignificant we are. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.