Chinese scientists successfully synthesize magnetic levitation-enabled LK-99 crystal
Published: Aug 02, 2023 03:50 AM
Evening scenery of CBD buildings in Northwest Lake, Hankou, Wuhan Province. Photo: VCG. Photo: VCG

Evening scenery of CBD buildings in Northwest Lake, Hankou, Wuhan Province. Photo: VCG. Photo: VCG

A Chinese experimental team released a video on social media on Tuesday, saying that they successfully verified the synthesis of LK-99 crystal that can be magnetically levitate for the first time, with larger levitated angle than that of the previous sample obtained by a South Korean team, which is expected to realize the true significance of non-contact superconducting magnetic levitation.

The video was released by a team led by Chang Haixin, a professor at the School of Materials Science and Technology of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, with postdoctoral researcher Wu Hao and doctoral student Yang Li.

However, the video  also stated that they have currently only verified the Meissner effect. Although this crystal exhibits diamagnetism, it is relatively weak and does not possess "zero resistance," and its overall behavior is similar to that of a semiconductor curve. The publisher believes that even if LK-99 has superconducting properties, they are only in trace amounts of superconducting impurities, unable to form a continuous superconducting path.

Previously, a research team from South Korea uploaded two papers on arXiv claiming to have discovered the "world's first room-temperature superconducting material," attracting attention from the globe. It is reported that this material is mainly a modified perovskite crystal structure (referred to as LK-99), a type of lead phosphate with copper doping.

However, the team has faced skepticism due to the insufficient experimental data they have currently provided to prove LK-99 is  a superconductor. Multiple research teams worldwide are attempting to synthesize LK-99 to verify the experimental results at the moment.

After the two papers on LK-99 from South Korean scientists were made public, researchers from the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Beihang University and the Shenyang National Research Center for Materials Science also released their relevant research findings.

Researchers Sun Yan and Liu Peitao from the Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, stated that they primarily conducted theoretical calculations. According to the computational results, there is a possibility of room-temperature superconductivity using  LK-99. The results also provided some explanations from the perspective of energy bands, but this does not serve as definitive proof.

The research team from Beihang University conducted tests on the synthesized LK-99 and found that its room-temperature resistance is not zero, and no magnetic levitation was observed. The paper states that the material exhibits characteristics similar to a semiconductor rather than a superconductor.

Room-temperature superconductivity would enable long-distance lossless power transmission, leading to a new wave of global infrastructure development in the electricity network. Additionally, breakthroughs are expected in areas such as superconducting magnets, superconducting cables, and superconducting maglev trains, according to  media reports.

The breakthrough in room-temperature and atmospheric pressure superconducting materials would undoubtedly bring about revolutionary changes in various fields, including energy, transportation, computing, and medical diagnostics.

Global Times