South Korean experts are to investigate possible breakthrough claims a room temperature superconductor has been developed, following days of counter-claims and investor frenzy.
The Korean Society of Superconductivity and Cryogenics said in a statement on Thursday it had asked Quantum Energy Research Centre to submit samples in order to verify its researchers’ findings of a room-temperature superconductor material, made public last month on a website showing research before formal publication.
“There has been a lot of controversy over the authenticity of the reported results at home and abroad, and other claims are being added without being peer-reviewed,” the group said.
“Based on data from the two archived papers and the video made public, the materials … cannot be called room temperature superconductors at this point,” it added.
Superconductors, substances with no electrical resistance, are considered valuable as they can allow electrical currents to pass through without losing energy.
But the handful of materials discovered so far only exhibit superconductivity at extremely high temperatures and pressures, making them impractical for widespread use.
The group said organisations such as Seoul National University, Sungkyunkwan University, and Pohang University of Science and Technology would verify the findings if any sample is provided by Quantum Energy Research Centre, while member organisations are carrying out their own verification research.
The researchers who made the claim did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Shares in the US, China and South Korea have gained since the claim of a practical superconductor was made public, as investors made early bets despite scepticism among some scientists.
The global frenzy had been further stoked after a Chinese university published a video replicating the experiment.
An index tracking Chinese superconductor-related stocks has surged since late July, when the South Korean researchers published their papers, rising as much as 22%, though it gave up a large chunk of those gains on Thursday.
Among these stocks were Jiangsu Etern Co and Western Superconducting Technologies which closed down 9.7% and 8.13% respectively on Thursday.
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara