Thorium Superconductivity: New High-Temperature Superconductor Discovered

Date: 2019-11-11
Views: 268

Thorium Superconductivity: New High-Temperature Superconductor Discovered

A group of scientists led by Artem Oganov of Skoltech and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and Ivan Troyan of the Institute of Crystallography of RAS has succeeded in synthesizing thorium decahydride (ThH10), a new superconducting material with the very high critical temperature of 161 kelvins. 

A truly remarkable property of quantum materials, superconductivity is the complete loss of electrical resistance under quite specific, and sometimes very harsh, conditions. Despite the tremendous potential for quantum computers and high-sensitivity detectors, the application of superconductors is hindered by the fact that their valuable properties typically manifest themselves at very low temperatures or extremely high pressures.

Until recently, the list of superconductors was topped by a mercury-containing cuprate, which becomes superconducting at 135 kelvins, or −138 degrees Celsius. This year, lanthanum decahydride, LaH10, set a new record of −13 C, which is very close to room temperature. Unfortunately, that superconductor requires pressures approaching 2 million atmospheres, which can hardly be maintained in real-life applications. Scientists, therefore, continue their quest for a superconductor that retains its properties at standard conditions.

In 2018, Alexander Kvashnin, a researcher at Oganov’s lab, predicted a new material — thorium polyhydride, or ThH10 (fig. 1) — with a critical temperature of −32 C, stable under 1 million atmospheres. In a recent study, researchers from Skoltech, MIPT, the Institute of Crystallography and Lebedev Institute of Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) have successfully obtained ThH10 and studied its transport properties and superconductivity.

The team’s findings corroborated the theoretical predictions, proving that ThH10 exists at pressures above 0.85 million atmospheres and exhibits amazing high-temperature superconductivity. The scientists could only determine the critical temperature at 0.7 million atmospheres and found it to be −112 C, which is consistent with the theoretical prediction for that pressure value. This makes ThH10 one of 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,” said Skoltech and MIPT Professor Artem Oganov, who co-directed the study. “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.”

“We discovered that superconductivity predicted in theory does exist at −112 C and 0.7 million atmospheres,” study co-director Ivan Troyan added. “Given the strong consistency between theory and experiment, it would be interesting to check whether ThH10 will show superconductivity at up to −30 C…−40 C and lower pressures as predicted.”

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


News / Recommended news More
2020 - 07 - 02
A Bochum-based team has developed a new process for zinc oxide layers that can be used for nitrogen oxide sensors as well as protection layer on plastic.The application of zinc oxide layers in industry is manifold and ranges from the protection of degradable goods to the detection of toxic nitrogen oxide gas. Such layers can be deposited by atomic layer deposition (ALD) which employs typically che...
2020 - 07 - 02
Grain boundaries in ceramics may not be as chemically stable as previously thought. So say researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US who have found that carbon atoms collect or segregate at the boundaries of silicon carbide – a technologically important ceramic – when the material is exposed to ionizing radiation. The result could help improve our understanding of ceramics in ge...
2020 - 06 - 24
Waste heat is all around you. On a small scale, if your phone or laptop feels warm, that's because some of the energy powering the device is being transformed into unwanted heat.On a larger scale, electric grids, such as high power lines, lose over 5% of their energy in the process of transmission. In an electric power industry that generated more than US$400 billion in 2018, that's a tremendous a...
2020 - 06 - 17
When most people think of ceramics, they might envision their favorite mug or a flowerpot. But modern technology is full of advanced ceramics, from silicon solar panels to ceramic superconductors and biomedical implants.Many of those advanced polycrystalline ceramics are combinations of crystalline grains which, at the microscopic level, resemble a stone fence held together with limestone mortar. ...
Uniris Exhibition Shanghai Co., Ltd.
Shanghai Branch
Tel: 4000 778 909

Guangzhou Branch
Tel: 020-8327 6389

IACE CHINA Official Website