Superconductivity in a Grain of Salt

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Science  28 Aug 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5381, pp. 1296-1297
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5381.1296

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For years, it has been thought that many materials would become metallic, and possibly superconducting, if put under high pressure. Testing that hypothesis has been difficult because of problems in measuring electrical properties of matter under high pressure. In his Perspective, Hemley discusses results reported in the same issue by Eremets et al. in which cesium iodide has been found to be a superconductor at pressures above 200 gigapascals. The measurements have been made possible by an innovative method for wiring samples in pressure cells, and the data raise new questions about the mechanisms of superconductivity in this and related materials.