A group of scientists, including Sukbae Lee, CEO of the Quantum Energy Research Center, recently announced that they had developed a material called LK-99.
It was claimed that this invention, which was mentioned in an article that was not submitted to peer-review, could revolutionize the world of physics. According to this claim, the LK-99 would fly in the air and pave the way for innovative technologies such as maglev trains or hoverboards that go faster than 500 kilometers per hour.
On the other hand, many researchers were skeptical of Lee and his team’s claims.
Researchers from the University of Prague in the Czech Republic also decided to test the LK-99 themselves.
Materials scientist Ross Colman and his colleagues explained in their experiment that LK-99 does not behave like a superconductor.
What is a superconductor?
In 1911, Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes discovered that mercury conducts electricity without any resistance when cooled to -269 degrees Celsius. The physicist called this “the superconducting state of mercury.”
Electrons that make up the electric current in superconductors flow between them without hitting any of the atoms. That’s why superconducting materials have the ability to transfer energy uninterruptedly without getting hot.
These have the potential to revolutionize fields such as healthcare, electronics and transportation.
On the other hand, scientists have been trying to develop materials that become superconducting at higher temperatures since the discovery in 1911.
“There are some inaccuracies or missing information”
Lee and his team also suggested that LK-99 maintains its superconductivity even at 127 degrees Celsius.
According to Colman and colleagues, the LK-99 does not consistently exhibit the behavior expected of superconductors at room temperature.
“The synthesis recipe of the material is presented very simply. There are some inaccuracies or missing information,” said Colman.
Many scientists who are skeptical of the invention think that LK-99 may be ferromagnetic, like iron, rather than a superconductor.
Ferromagnetism is a term used to describe the behavior of materials such as magnetizable iron, roughly.
A scientist is under investigation
On the other hand, LK-99 was not the first material suggested to become superconducting at room temperature.
A few years ago, in an article published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, it was announced that a material that could become superconducting at 15 degrees was developed.
However, 2.5 million atmospheric pressure (ATM) was required for this material to work, which again made it difficult to apply. In addition, the article was withdrawn after some calculation errors were detected.
The lead author of the article in question, University of Rochester’s Dr. It was Ranga P. Dias.
According to the latest information given by the New York Times, another article in which he made similar claims was withdrawn. Dias began to be investigated by the university where he worked.