Recently,professorYanmingMa and his team from our college made a new breakthrough in the designing of hydrogen-rich superconducting compounds. A related study entitled "Route to a Superconducting Phase above Room Temperature in Electron-Doped Hydride Compounds under High Pressure" was published online in the journalPhysical Review Letterson August 26, 2019.
Since the initial discovery of 4.2 K superconductivity in elemental mercury in 1911, searching for room-temperature superconductors has been the unremitting pursuit of scientists. As early as 2012, Prof. Ma and his team explicitly proposed that clathrate hydrides are the key to improve the superconductivity [PNAS 109, 6463 (2012)],and designed a number of rare earth hydrides with H-cage units at high pressure in 2017 [PRL 119, 107001 (2017)], parts of these high- temperature superconducting structure has been experimentally confirmed(e.g., 250-260 K for LaH10, and 224 K for YH6).
Recently, Ma’s team broke through the traditional idea of finding high-temperature superconductors only in binary hydrides, and proposed a new idea for designing room-temperature superconductors at high pressure by electron doping. Using self-developed CALYPSO crystal structure prediction method, a novel high-temperature superconductor (Li2MgH16) with H-cage units was proposed by doping metal lithium atoms into the binary magnesium hydride compound. The H-cage units were revealed to be the key to increase the superconducting transition temperature. Li2MgH16has a high superconducting temperature as high as 473 K (~ 200 ℃), which is a powerful candidate structure for room-temperature superconductors, and ignites new hope for achieving the century-dream of room-temperature superconductivity.This research provideda new idea for designingpolynary hydrides with high-temperature superconductivity under high pressure, and received widespread media attention. The article was selected to be a PRL Editors' Suggestion (Top 1/6), was chosen as the Cover Article, and received a highlight report from the physicscolumn titled "A Prediction for 'Hot' Superconductivity" (Top 5 ‰). Professor Ryotaro Arita, a physicist in the University of Tokyo, winner of the Kubo Prize, commented that "the result is exciting" and "it unveils a potentially new pathway to achieve superconductivity at room temperature".
This research was independently completed by Prof. Yanming Ma and his team. Sun Ying, a PhD student in the Collage of Physics of Jilin University, was the first author of this paper, and corresponding authors were Prof. Hanyu Liu and Prof. Yanming Ma. This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Science Challenge Project, the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Jilin University, JLU), the Program for JLU Science and Technology Innovative Research Team (JLUSTIRT), and National Key Research and Development Program of China. The computing facilities at the High-Performance Computing Centre of Jilin University and Tianhe2-JK at the Beijing Computational Science Research Centre were used.