The impact of a superconducting material, that worked at room temperature, would be enormous.
It would all but solve the world's energy needs/crisis
I haven't heard much since. Then this article turned up today
Silicon now a frigid superconductor
Thursday, 23 November 2006
Silicon has been converted into a superconductor, but at very low temperatures.
If this could be reproduced at room temperatures, then we could build super-efficient computer circuit boards (Image: iStockphoto)
Scientists say they have treated silicon, the material of choice for semiconductors, so that it paradoxically becomes a superconductor, a material that offers no resistance.
This potentially has huge uses in the efficient transfer of energy, whether that's on a large scale like electronic cables or on a smaller scale, like in a computer chip.
But superconductivity in the treated silicon occurs only at 0.3°K, or 0.3°C above absolute zero.
This means the novel material has no practical use and is only of theoretical interest right now.
Dr Etienne Bustarret of France's National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Grenoble and colleagues converted the silicon by 'doping' it with high levels of boron, using a pulsed laser at normal pressure.
They publish their research today in the journal Nature alongside a commentary that describes the findings as "a breakthrough".
Superconductivity has been found in only a number of materials which, at very cold temperatures, allow electricity to flow through them without offering any resistance or losing some of the energy as heat.
Scientific but also industrial interest in superconductors is huge, as superconductive cable and dynamos would be many times more energy-efficient than traditional copper and other conductors.