A team of physicists in New York has discovered a material that conducts electricity with perfect efficiency at room temperature — a long-sought scientific milestone. The hydrogen, carbon and sulfur compound operates as a superconductor at up to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the team reported today in Nature. That’s more than 50 degrees hotter than the previous high-temperature superconductivity record set last year.

“This is the first time we can really claim that room-temperature superconductivity has been found,” said Ion Errea, a condensed matter theorist at the University of the Basque Country in Spain who was not involved in the work.

“It’s clearly a landmark,” said Chris Pickard, a materials scientist at the University of Cambridge. “That’s a chilly room, maybe a British Victorian cottage,” he said of the 59-degree temperature.

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Category: Science