A physicist in South Africa claims to have created a new superconducting state of matter at room temperature. Johan Prins of the University of Pretoria observed the superconducting state in experiments with diamonds that had been doped with oxygen.
Diamond is a semiconductor and Prins has long been interested in using n-type diamond as a “cold” cathode to replace the “hot” cathodes found in television tubes and many other devices. Moreover, he believes that the results of his experiments on n-type diamond surfaces – made by exposing the diamond to energetic oxygen ions – can only be explained by a new type of superconducting state. “If it is not superconductivity then it must be violating the second law of thermodynamics,” he says.