Harvard scientists turn Hydrogen into metal, a possible metastable superconductor

Teams have been trying to squeeze hydrogen enough without breaking the equipment since 1935.

Picture for representation
A combination of still photos taken from video shows hydrogen magnified at different stages of compression, from gas form to metallic Reuters

Scientists just have made an 80 years old prediction come true after they successfully turned hydrogen into a metal. Teams have been working on how to squeeze the element enough without breaking the equipment since 1935.

CNBC reported that a team of scientists at Harvard University published a paper in the in the peer-reviewed journal, Science, this week, where they stated that they managed to squeeze hydrogen in a diamond vise until the element became reflective - a key property of metals.

Metallic hydrogen, scientists believe, is a superconductor and it could conduct electricity without any resistance. Hydrogen conductors can transmit electricity for long distances than normal circuits which lose energy to resistance, mostly in form of heat.

Superconductive metals are can also be used for making magnets for complex devices like hospital MRI machines and CERN particle accelerators. However, materials for superconductors need to be cooled to extremely low temperatures in order to make it work – process which is very expensive as well as extremely cumbersome.

Scientists also found out that hydrogen material may be metastable - a state which helps the element to retain its metallic properties even at normal temperatures and pressure levels once turned into a metallic object. Thus this means that conductors made from hydrogen metal can conduct electricity at nearly 100 percent efficiency in normal conditions.

However, this path-breaking discovery garnered strong criticism. Eugene Gregoryanz, a physicist at the University of Edinburgh, said that he is not very convinced with the experiment and can see several loopholes. "The word garbage cannot really describe it," said the physicist, as reported.

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