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The possibility of achieving room temperature superconductivity took a tiny step forward with a recent discovery by a team of Penn State physicists and materials scientists.

The surprising discovery involved layering a two-dimensional material called molybdenum sulfide with another material called molybdenum carbide. Molybdenum carbide is a known superconductor -- electrons can flow through the material without any resistance. Even the best of metals, such as silver or copper, lose energy through heat. This loss makes long-distance transmission of electricity more costly.

"Superconductivity occurs at very low temperatures, close to absolute zero or 0 Kelvin," said Mauricio Terrones, corresponding author on a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published this week. "The alpha phase of Moly carbide is superconducting at 4 Kelvin."

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Category: Science