PerspectivePhysics

Squeezing into superconductivity

Science  18 Mar 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6279, pp. 1260-1261
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf2541

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Summary

The recent report of superconductivity in hydrogen sulfide (H2S) by Drozdov et al. (1) at a record high superconducting critical temperature Tc of 203 K and at high pressure (153 GPa) triggered excitement from both a fundamental and technological perspective. On page 1303 of this issue, Troyan et al. (2) confirm the finding by using an elegant and unexpected implementation of the Mössbauer technique at the third-generation synchrotron facility in Grenoble, France. They measured the Meissner effect (3)—the expulsion of magnetic field from the sample—thereby unequivocally confirming the existence of superconductivity. The new superconductor is believed to have a simple chemical formula, H3S. The superconductivity in H3S was predicted theoretically by Duan et al. (4) before the first experimental findings were reported. The technique has great potential for future studies of tiny samples squeezed to extremely high pressure. This experimental advance paves the road to probing superconductivity in metallic hydrogen, which is expected to be a room-temperature superconductor above 500 GPa (5).