Chinese researchers moved quickly to test a US team’s claim to one of the greatest scientific achievements of the 21st century – a material that becomes a superconductor at room temperatures.

Ranga Dias from the University of Rochester startled the scientific community with his announcement – at the world’s largest physics meeting in Las Vegas on March 7 – that his team had created a superconducting material at a pressure and temperature suitable for practical applications.

Details were published the day after the American Physical Society event by the international journal Nature but have come under intense scrutiny from the scientific community after controversy over a 2020 paper by the same team which described a similar breakthrough.

Three teams in China have attempted unsuccessfully to replicate the new findings, with the latest results from Nanjing University researchers uploaded to the preprint server arXiv on March 15.

 Wen Haihu, from Nanjing University, said he was “totally shocked by the results and the data” after watching Dias’ talk online and immediately asked his team to try and replicate the study, he told China Science Daily.

After working nonstop for eight days and nights, Wen and his colleagues were unable to achieve superconductivity at the US team’s reported 21 degrees Celsius (69.8 Fahrenheit) and 1 gigapascal of pressure.

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