LK-99 superconductor: Chinese researchers demonstrate magnetic levitation as proof

Created in a four-day process by combining lanarkite minerals and copper phosphide, the superconductor, known as LK-99, may hold transformative potential akin to transistors in the past.
Ameya Paleja
If LK-99 is the real deal, superconductors won't need ultra cooling  temperatures to work
If LK-99 is the real deal, superconductors won't need ultra cooling temperatures to work

kysimage/iStock 

The Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, has reported successfully replicating the synthesis of the LK-99 crystal and capturing its magnetic levitation on video as evidence. This development adds to the excitement surrounding the recent global news of the discovery of a new superconducting material.

In case you haven't caught wind of the rumored significant advancement in material science that has been circulating on the internet and in research circles, a group of Korean scientists asserted that they have achieved a superconducting material capable of functioning at room temperature and standard pressure.

Produced through a four-day process involving the combination of lanarkite minerals (Pb₂SO₅) and copper phosphide (Cu₃P), the superconductor now referred to as LK-99, appears unassumingly simple but could potentially transform the world, much like transistors did in the past.

Why are superconductors important?

This is not the initial claim to garner global attention regarding superconductors. Several teams have previously asserted achieving the remarkable feat of conducting electricity with zero resistance and even documented their findings in published papers.

Such discoveries could potentially herald a new age of technology where large computers are highly efficient machines and do not waste energy producing unnecessary heat. It could pave the way for making better magnets that could help power nuclear fusion reactions or move magnetic levitation trains more effectively.

It is only natural to anticipate a certain level of skepticism when presented with a new claim about a superconductor material, and that was precisely the case last week.

With the information about the straightforward recipe for synthesizing it spreading, an increasing number of researchers from various parts of the world have now corroborated the possibility that LK-99 could be authentic.

Replicating the superconductor

Days after the initial LK-99 claim, researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in the US as well as Shenyang National Lab in China came out in support of the Korean team and said that it was indeed possible to make the superconductor.

Now researchers at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China have shared a video to demonstrate how LK-99 levitates magnetically and even claimed to have achieved a larger angle of levitation than the Korean researchers.

The fact that the scientific community is disseminating its findings through social media instead of confining them to research papers is potentially indicative of the significance of this discovery. It may also reflect the current era, where there is a preference for short bursts of information rather than delving deep into the true implications of the discovery.

While interesting to watch, the video raises far more questions than it attempts to answer. Magnetic levitation is just one aspect of a superconductor and one would like to see proof of other abilities of LK-99 before we hail it as a redefining moment in our history.

Consider us old-school, but we find it crucial to witness a peer-reviewed paper on the material to truly believe its claims. Even then, the real questions about its scalability and cost-effectiveness, which would determine its potential impact on billions of lives, would remain unanswered. Until such evidence is presented, we will maintain our skepticism.

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board