Re: Room temperature superconduction in carbon fibers?

Robin Hanson (
Thu, 10 Sep 1998 09:03:17 -0700

Brian D Williams forwards:
>... 4) Perhaps of greatest interest is
>the recent demonstration by Heer et al (Georgia Institute of
>Technology, US), confirming theoretical predictions, that carbon
>nanotubes can carry current at room temperature with essentially
>no resistance. ... At the present time, single-
>walled carbon nanotubes are commercially available for
>approximately US$200 per gram. ...

That CEO of Magnetic Power Inc. and ROOTS I mentioned called me on the phone, and convinced me they have a reasonable case for having found room temperature superconductivity. It's in a silicon polymer, but so far only in rare filimants of ~10nm length. They have improved their yield by 10^4 over the last few years, but still have a ways to go, though they have some nearterm applications feasible with low yields. (They invited folks up to see their lab, ~ 50 miles north of bay area.)

So the bottom line seems to be that we have several known room T superconductors, and it'll be a race to see which tech can improve their production process the fastest. Given all other applications for nanotubes, I guess I'd bet on them. But it could be many years still.

Robin Hanson RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884 140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614