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November, 2017

The hunt for high temperature superconductivity has been reinvigorated by the experimental discovery that compressed H2S exhibits a Tc of up to 203K at megabar pressures (1Mbar=100GPa). A collaboration between the University of Cambridge and Jilin University has published the results of a computational search for materials that might superconduct at even higher temperatures.

An extensive search for the stable structures and compositions of rare earth hydrides was performed using first principles density functional theory based methods. The superconducting transition temperatures for the stable metallic compounds were calculated using the same theoretical techniques that were used to anticipate the superconductivity in dense hydrogen sulphide. The highest temperatures were predicted for pressures that are around those found in the centre of the Earth. It is a challenge for the future to find materials that superconduct at high temperatures and everyday low pressures.

Figure: The predicted YH10 structure is calculated to have a Tc of up to 303K at 400GPa

F. Peng, Y. Sun, C. J. Pickard, R. J. Needs, Q. Wu, and Y. Ma, "Hydrogen Clathrate Structures in Rare Earth Hydrides at High Pressures: Possible Route to Room-Temperature Superconductivity", Physical Review Letters 119, 107001 (2017)

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