Inspenet, September 21, 2023.
Over the past few weeks, laboratories around the world have been immersed in a competition to develop LK-99 , a new material that, according to South Korean scientists, showed superconductivity properties at ambient temperature and pressure conditions .
Most materials, especially metals, can only achieve superconductivity (i.e. zero electrical resistance) at temperatures close to absolute zero. However, LK-99 had apparently achieved that remarkable breakthrough at temperatures and pressures found naturally throughout the planet.
That exciting announcement generated a wave of excitement both online and in physics laboratories around the world. The New York Times dubbed LK-99 the “superconductor of the summer” and the anticipation of validation by other experts has become a viral obsession.
However, condensed matter physicists always maintained a cautious stance, expressing doubts about the credibility of the Quantum Energy Research Center that produced the sample of the aforementioned material and questioning some of the extraordinary details presented in the original article.
Goodbye illusion: The LK-99 is not what everyone expected
According to what was shared by the Condensed Matter Theory Center (CMTC) of the University of Maryland in a series of publications in X, the International Center for Quantum Materials (ICQM) of China has reported that LK-99 does not show superconductivity, but what is known as “ferromagnetism”. Furthermore, the FCTC highlights that the resistivity of LK-99 at room temperature is approximately one billion times that of copper and labels it as an “Anti-SC.”
Although phenomena such as diamagnetism and ferromagnetism have their own magnetic characteristics, they are not rare at all. As the FCTC suggests, these magnetic properties do not have significant practical applications in real-world situations.
Likewise, recent tests have put paid to the hope of finding a revolutionary new superconducting material, an achievement that would be comparable to the discovery of electromagnetic induction or the invention of the first transistor.
The existence of a superconductor at room temperature would alter the rules in the field of electrical engineering, bringing zero electrical resistance to high-tech scientific laboratories, such as CERN particle accelerators, ITER fusion reactors or quantum computers. from Google, to our daily lives. This would make the electrical grid, devices and everything that depends on electrical load work considerably more efficiently than today.
For now, however, this dream remains out of reach. Despite this reality, scientists around the world continue to strive to unravel the quantum mysteries behind superconductivity, in the hope that one day this desired dream can become a reality.