What's the article about?
- It talks about the controversy surrounding the superconducting material LK-99.
- GS3: Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life;
- The material known as LK-99 was claimed to be the world's first room temperature superconductor by a group of South Korean researchers. However, recent findings have shown that LK-99 is not a superconductor at all.
- The content of the article is not very important for CSE; however, the topic of superconductors forms part of the GS3 Science and Technology syllabus.
What is a superconductor?
What are practical applications of superconductors?
Why we want room temperature superconductor?
The Indian government has made efforts in the field of superconductors through various initiatives and missions. Here are some key points regarding the Indian government's efforts in the field of superconductors:
- The scientific community has concluded that LK-99 is not a room-temperature and ambient-pressure superconductor, despite the initial claim by a group of South Korean researchers.
- The claim was tested by independent scientists who published their findings as preprint papers that were free to read. The episode highlights the benefits and challenges of open science.
- Evidence Against LK-99 as a Superconductor:
- Independent researchers found that LK-99 was an insulator whose impurities could be magnetized, leading to the half-repulsion seen in the video shared by the South Korean group.
- Additionally, scientists observed that the electrical resistivity of LK-99 dropped sharply at around 104° Celsius, a potential sign of superconductivity.
- However, the drop was observed only if the material contained copper sulphide as an impurity, which undergoes a phase transition at that temperature, distorting the resistivity.
- Burden of Proof:
- The burden of proof is now back on the South Korean group to provide evidence that LK-99 is indeed a superconductor.
- The LK-99 episode suggests that participating in open science can lead to more good science but also, in the presence of bad-faith actors, to misunderstanding and confusion.
- The online diffusion of information and data in this episode achieved something the world seldom has: near-real-time and crowd-organized documentation, collaboration rather than competition, and closure. The compunctions with the latter should not hold back the former.
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