This from the University of Rochester seems credible to me (though of course IANAP), and in another sense absolutely, positively incredible. Someone has created a “room temperature superconductor” – though a rather cool room, by USA standards, at 14.5/58 degrees.
Obviously it’s a one-off. Like Apollo 11 was not the start of lunar tourism, this breakthrough is not the beginning of superconducting electromagnets powering your car. Still, you can’t get to lunar tourism without an Apollo 11, and you can’t get to cars & kids toys with superconducting electromagnets without work like that of the University of Rochester.
The high expense and low-repeatability of this experiment seems not to be luck, though (again, IANAP). This isn’t a situation where they’re not quite sure how they succeeded. Instead what makes their solution so impractical is the fact that the elements they used to create their superconducting compound required the pressure of a diamond anvil – 39 million psi of it – to cause the atoms to reassemble in the proper semi-crystalline structures necessary to produce a superconducting material in the first place. We won’t get far limited to material sizes of less than a centimeter in its largest dimension, but even just doing it once, just doing it this first time, creating a 14.5° C critical temperature superconductor is like walking on the fucking moon.
Holy shit. Well done, Dr. Ranga Dias & team.