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Material Science

Pyrolytic Graphite – A Room Temp, Ambient Pressure Superconductor?



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For decades now, there have been a select few achievements scientists have been working toward that are often referred to as the ‘holy grail' of their respective fields.  For clean energy production, this would be Nuclear Fusion – the same process that powers the Sun and could provide us with near-limitless energy devoid of harmful emissions.  For material science, it is a room-temperature, ambient-pressure (RT-AP) superconductor.

Such a development would provide the means to transmit power with essentially no energy loss, transforming our power grids and enabling massive leaps forward with regard to electronics and computing.  For this reason, in mid-2023, the world was on the edge of its seat when news broke that a substance known as LK-99, which was claimed to act as an RT-AP superconductor, had been discovered.  While further investigation showed that this was not actually the case, scientists have not been dissuaded from discovering the real thing.

With that in mind, a recent paper published in Advanced Quantum Technologies by a group of researchers affiliated with Swiss-based Terra Quantum may have made progress on this front stating,

“We have reported the first-ever observation of the global room-temperature superconductivity at ambient pressure.”

The material in question that reportedly fits this description is known as Pyrolytic Graphite.

Is Pyrolytic Graphite The First RT-AP Superconductor?

In the paper, ‘Global Room-Temperature Superconductivity in Graphite' the team of researchers observed what they believe was room-temperature superconductivity in ‘cleaved highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) with dense arrays of parallel line defects'.

The study states that it recorded both multiterminal and magnetization measurements – each of which demonstrated characteristics of superconductivity at temperatures greater than 300 K.

While the reasoning for the behavior of this material is not yet fully understood, the team of researchers behind the study shared a theory on what is happening.

“The basic principle we have uncovered is that linear defects in stacked materials host strong strain gradient fluctuations, which induce the local pairing of electrons into condensate droplets that form JJA-like structures in the planes. The global superconductivity is then established by the effect of the tunneling links connecting the superconducting droplets. If the droplets are sufficiently small, one foreseesa fairly high critical superconducting temperature”

Interestingly, while the paper focused on observations made involving Pyrolytic Graphite, the team notes that its theory into what is happening may extend to other materials as well, stating that its “…ideas and concepts explored in our work are not confined to graphite. Our theoretical model is quite general and guides where to look for more room-temperature superconducting.” materials”

Lingering Superconductor Doubts

It should be noted that heavy skepticism often surrounds claims of discovering a RT-AP superconductor.  This is due to not only the magnitude of such a discovery but a long history of ‘false starts' in which claims were made, only to be debunked by the scientific community soon after.  Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and to date, the two have not aligned.

In the case of Pyrolytic Graphite, the claims being made will be considered strongly, as Terra Quantum is a well-funded company with enough of a reputation to warrant further investigation.

Beyond Incremental

If one looks beyond lingering doubts about yet another RT-AP Superconductor claim, it is easy to get excited, as such a discovery would be a leap forward for material science.

Typically, scientific progress occurs in incremental advances, with each step taken built slightly on the last.  Every once in a while, though, we have a breakthrough that has the potential to greatly expedite our capabilities and understanding in one fell swoop.   When the day comes that a RT-AP superconductor is found, it will, no doubt, be recognized as such a breakthrough.

It would instantly revolutionize various fields by enabling unprecedented efficiencies in energy transmission, transform electrical systems, and open new frontiers in electronics and magnetism-based technologies.  However, for the time being, doubt remains.

Top Potential Beneficiaries of a RT-AP Superconductor

As mentioned, the discovery of a RT-AP superconductor would bring huge advancements across many industries.  Found below are examples of publicly traded companies offering differing products/services that would particularly benefit from such a development.

*Figures provided below were accurate at the time of writing and are subject to change.  Any potential investor should verify metrics*

1. American Electric Power Company

finviz dynamic chart for  AEP

MarketcapP/E RatioEarnings Per Share (EPS)

As a major electric utility company, American Electric Power Company is one among many of its kind that could greatly benefit from room-temperature ambient pressure superconductors.  These superconductors could significantly enhance the efficiency of power transmission networks, reducing energy loss and operational costs.  This would allow the company to provide more efficient and reliable power distribution, potentially leading to increased profitability and a stronger market position in renewable energy integration.

2. Nvidia

finviz dynamic chart for  NVDA

MarketcapP/E RatioEarnings Per Share (EPS)

Nvidia, known for its graphics processing units (GPUs) and AI technology, could utilize room-temperature superconductors to improve computing efficiency drastically.  This advancement could lead to more powerful and energy-efficient GPUs, offering substantial benefits in high-performance computing and AI applications.  The resultant technological leap could position Nvidia at the forefront of next-generation computing technology.

3. Tesla

finviz dynamic chart for  TSLA

MarketcapP/E RatioEarnings Per Share (EPS)

Tesla, a leader in electric vehicles and battery technology, stands to gain significantly from the development of room-temperature superconductors.  This technology could lead to more efficient electric motors, enhanced battery storage solutions, and faster charging capabilities.  The integration of superconductors in Tesla's vehicles and energy products could also greatly improve their performance and efficiency, potentially strengthening Tesla's already impressive market dominance in the EV sector.