The new lead, tin, and indium based superconductor discovered by researchers with features an average critical temperature of 185.6 K, according to, making it the world's first ambient superconductor.  (Source:
While unfortunately we don't have room temperature superconductors, we are fairly close

Based on the language of the press release that announced that German and Canadian scientists had discovered a superconductor that could operate without refrigerant and the EETimes initial report that a room-temperature superconductor had been founded, DailyTech incorrectly reported that a room-temperature superconductor had been discovered, due to these improper or misleading sources

The discovery is still significant.  At 100-125 GPa, scientists found the superconductivity of the silane compound sharply increased.  However, only five data points were collected and scientists never observed a critical temperature above 20 K.  Possibly of future benefit, the shape of the curve from the data points indicates that for a small range of high pressures a very high critical point could be achieved.  Researchers say that this critical point could be as high as room temperature, likely the source of the misquote.  The research did mark perhaps the first successful effort to get compressed hydrogen to superconduct, paving the way towards these higher temperature future experiments. 

Interestingly the researchers point out that recent hydrogen compression efforts using buckyballs could help further pressurize the hydrogen, allowing further progress in this class of superconductors.

Still, there is good news on the superconductor front.  The latest non-pressurized superconductor record was set by (Sn1.0Pb0.5In0.5)Ba4Tm5Cu7O20 on March 8.  This new superconductor on eight independent trials averaged a TC, or critical superconducting temperature, of 185.6 K.  The previous record had been 181 K, set by a version of the same class, the improved new one having slightly more lead and slightly less of the expensive element indium.  This superconductor marks the first "ambient temperature superconductor". 

The term refers to a superconductor capable of operating within the temperature range observed over the Earth's history.  The coldest observed temperature in recorded history was 183.95 K, taken at the 21 July, 1983, the Vostok Research Station in Antarctica.  If this superconductor had been there at the time, it would have superconducted.

To put this accomplishment in perspective as of October 2007, the highest temperature superconductor was a ceramic material consisting of thallium, mercury, copper, barium, calcium, and oxygen with a Tc=138 K.  With a 45 K increase in only 5 months, it certainly seems that room temperature superconductors will soon be on their way, whether the silane family pans out or not.  However, for now we will have to wait a bit longer.

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