Scientists from Russia, China and the United States predicted and have now experimentally identified new uranium hydrides, predicting superconductivity for some of them. The results of their study were published in Science Advances.
The highest temperature superconductors operate at -183° C, and, therefore require constant cooling. In 2015, a rare sulfur hydride (H3S) set a new high-temperature superconductivity record of -70 °C , although at pressures as high as 1,500,000 atm.
A group of physicists led by Professor Artem R. Oganov predicted that much lower pressures of about 50,000 atmospheres can produce 14 new uranium hydrides, of which only one, UH3, has been known to date. They include compounds rich in hydrogens, such as UH7 and UH8, that the scientists also predicted to be superconducting. Many of these compounds were then obtained in the experiments conducted by the teams of Professor Alexander Goncharov at the U.S. Carnegie Institution of Washington (USA) and the Institute of Solid State Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The calculations suggest that the highest-temperature superconductor is UH7, which displays superconducting capability at -219° C – a temperature level that can be increased further by doping.