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Could The LK-99 Superconductor Herald The Next Technological Age?

  • South Korean researchers claim to have developed "LK-99," a superconductor that operates at room temperature and standard atmospheric pressure, a significant departure from previous superconductors requiring low temperatures and high pressure.
  • If successfully mass-produced, "LK-99" could disrupt numerous industries with benefits including energy-saving power transmission, enhanced computer chips, and advancements in rail transport and medical imaging.
  • While the potential implications of this development have excited many, some experts remain skeptical due to the perceived lack of detail in the South Korean team's published papers.

There has been a lot of excitement on social media about the claim of a new superconductor that works at room temperature but also under ambient pressure. If the claims are true, the world could be nearing a new type of superconductor that some experts liken to the invention of the transistor. 

Last month, South Korean researchers published two new papers on what they say is a groundbreaking achievement: the development of a superconductor that operates at room temperature and standard atmospheric pressure. This is a huge step forward because, until now, all superconductors require low temperatures and high pressure to work, significantly restricting their real-world applications.

The superconductor utilizes a lead-based material has been called "LK-99." Such a breakthrough would be a massive leap for more efficient energy transfer and the developing of more powerful maglev trains. 

Nick Cheng, an analyst at Jefferies Financial Group Inc., told clients, "If LK-99 is proved to be true and able to be mass-produced, it would be disruptive for a wide range of industries." 

Cheng continued, "Cables could be made that transmit power without loss, saving energy, and advancements could be made in computer chips, rail transport and medical imaging as well."

Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at TF International Securities Group Ltd., tweeted:

There is no timetable for commercialization of room-temperature ambient-pressure superconductor, but if it can be successfully commercialized in the future, it will have a revolutionary impact on product design in the fields of computers and consumer electronics. The technological and material innovations of computers and consumer electronics are all aimed at achieving high-speed computing, high-frequency high-speed transmission, and miniaturization, and the characteristics of the superconducting state, which means electrical resistance disappears, will revolutionize the existing product design and material/technology adoption , such as: thermal system is no longer needed, optical fiber/high-end CCL is replaced, the entry barrier of advanced node is lowered, etc., so that even a mobile device as small as an iPhone can have a computing power comparable to a quantum computer.

"This is insanely bullish for humanity," engineer Andrew Cote tweeted. 

He continued, "If it wasn't clear why this is a big deal, if successful LK-99 would be a watershed moment for humanity easily on-par with invention of the transistor."

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On Tuesday, a team at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, claim they have replicated LK-99 material.

Claims about the superconductor technology were enough to send Korean and Chinese superconductor-related stocks into the stratosphere in the last several sessions. "If true, the discovery would be one of the biggest ever in condensed matter physics and could usher in all sorts of technological marvels," Science wrote.

However, some experts have said the Korean team's papers are "short on detail and have left many physicists skeptical."

By Zerohedge.com

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