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Superconducting hydrogen?

January 25, 2010

Physicists have long wondered whether hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, could be transformed into a metal and possibly even a superconductor – the elusive state in which electrons can flow without resistance. They have speculated that under certain pressure and temperature conditions hydrogen could be squeezed into a metal and possibly even a superconductor, but proving it experimentally has been difficult. High-pressure researchers, including Carnegie’s Ho-kwang (Dave) Mao, have now modeled three hydrogen-dense metal alloys and found there are pressure and temperature trends associated with the superconducting state – a huge boost in the understanding of how this abundant material could be harnessed. The study is published in the January 25, 2010, early, on-line edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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