Wayne State University physicists said Friday they have found evidence of superconductivity at minus 27 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature far above that used in earlier successful experiments.
Superconductivity, the passage of electricity with 100% efficiency, at that relatively high temperature eventually could have a wide range of applications, from smaller, faster computers to trains that might speed from city to city floating above the rails, scientists said.
"We established a strong evidence that this is indeed an indication of superconductivity at a high temperature," said Juei-teng Chen, one of the physicists who conducted the experiment. "We think this is very important."
The phenomenon of superconductivity was once possible only at temperatures near 459 degrees below zero on the Fahrenheit scale, called "absolute zero" in physics.
A series of recent discoveries has enabled scientists to produce superconductivity at increasingly higher temperatures. They are aiming eventually for resistance-free passage of electricity at room temperatures.
That would make superconductive devices cheap enough for commercial use by eliminating the need for complex cooling apparatus, researchers said.