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Best of 2012: Room Temperature Superconductivity Found in Graphite Grains

 Here’s an interesting recipe. Take a spoonful of graphite powder and stir it into a glass of water. Leave for 24 hours at room temperature and then filter the powder. Finally, bake overnight at 100 degrees C and allow to cool.

And voila! A material that superconducts at over 300 kelvin–room temperature. At least that’s the claim today from Pablo Esquinazi and buddies at the University of Leipzig in Germany.

If that sounds too good to be true, it’s worth taking a look at the claim in more detail since there are more than a few caveats.

First, this is not a conventional bulk material. The claim from Germany is that the superconductivity occurs at the interface between grains of graphite after they have dried out.

So that’s a surface effect which involves only a tiny fraction of the total mass of carbon in the powder–just 0.0001 per cent of the mass, according to Esquinazi and co.

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