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The fundamental requirement for superconductivity is the coupling of fermionic electrons into Cooper pairs. Theory paints a neat picture of how the resulting bosonic behaviour allows occupation of the same energy levels and leads to a host of exotic behaviour - zero electrical resistance and the expulsion of magnetic flux lines so that superconducting objects levitate on magnets, to name a few. Where the picture grows fuzzy is extrapolating from there what specific aspects a material system needs to become superconducting at a given temperature. While design principles to fabricate a room-temperature superconductor remain elusive, a lot has been learnt in the chase, bringing applications of superconductors in a range of sectors from imaging, testing and quantum cryptography ever closer.

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Category: Science