New Superconducting Material For Levitating High-Speed Train or to Achieve Nuclear Fusion

In a historic achievement, University of Rochester researchers have created a superconducting material at both a temperature and pressure low enough for practical applications.

With this material, the dawn of ambient superconductivity and applied technologies has arrived,” according to a team led by Ranga Dias, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and of physics. In a paper in Nature, the researchers describe a nitrogen-doped lutetium hydride (NDLH) that exhibits superconductivity at 69 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius) and 10 kilobars (145,000 pounds per square inch, or psi) of pressure.

Although 145,000 psi might still seem extraordinarily high (pressure at sea level is about 15 psi), strain engineering techniques routinely used in chip manufacturing, for example, incorporate materials held together by internal chemical pressures that are even higher.

Scientists have been pursuing this breakthrough in condensed matter physics for more than a century. Superconducting materials have two key properties: electrical resistance vanishes, and the magnetic fields that are expelled pass around the superconducting material. Such materials could enable:

  • Power grids that transmit electricity without the loss of up to 200 million megawatt hours (MWh) of the energy that now occurs due to resistance in the wires
  • Frictionless, levitating high-speed trains
  • More affordable medical imaging and scanning techniques such as MRI and magnetocardiography
  • Faster, more efficient electronics for digital logic and memory device technology
  • Tokamak machines that use magnetic fields to confine plasmas to achieve fusion as a source of unlimited power

Previously, the Dias team reported creating two materialscarbonaceous sulfur hydride and yttrium superhydride—that are superconducting at 58 degrees Fahrenheit (14,4 degrees Celsius) /39 million psi and 12 degrees Fahreneheit/26 million psi respectively, in papers in Nature and Physical Review Letters.


Telepathy For Real Within 8 Years

Imagine if telepathy were real. If, for example, you could transmit your thoughts to a computer or to another person just by thinking them. In just eight years it will be, says Openwater founder Mary Lou Jepsen, thanks to technology her company is working on.

Jepsen is a former engineering executive at Facebook, Oculus, Google[x] (now called X) and Intel. She’s also been a professor at MIT and is an inventor on over 100 patents. And that’s the abbreviated version of her resume. Jepsen left Facebook to found Openwater in 2016. The San Francisco-based start-up is currently building technology to make medical imaging less expensive.

I figured out how to put basically the functionality of an M.R.I. machine — a multimillion-dollar M.R.I. machine — into a wearable in the form of a ski hat,” Jepson said, though she does not yet have a prototype completed.

Current M.R.I. technology can already see your thoughts: “If I threw [you] into an M.R.I. machine right now … I can tell you what words you’re about to say, what images are in your head. I can tell you what music you’re thinking of,” says Jepsen. “That’s today, and I’m talking about just shrinking that down.”

One day Jepsen’s tech hat could “literally be a thinking cap,” she says. Jepsen explains the goal is for the technology to be able to both read and to output your own thoughts, as well as read the thoughts of others. In iconic Google vocabulary, “the really big moonshot idea here is communication with thought — with telepathy,”adds Jepsen.