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Scandium superconducts at the highest temperature for a pure element

Jun 10, 2023

Two independent teams of researchers found that putting the silvery metal scandium under extreme pressure makes it into a superconductor at a temperature higher than any other element on its own

By Karmela Padavic-Callaghan

19 June 2023

Scandium is the high-temperature record holder for a pure element superconducting

Phil Degginger / Alamy Stock Photo

The silvery metal scandium can be made into a superconductor without having to be mixed with other substances, and this occurs at higher temperatures than for any other element. The process still requires extreme cold and pressure, but the discovery could help us engineer more practical materials with zero electrical resistance.

Superconductors – materials that conduct electricity without the electrical resistance that leads to wasted energy – have been studied intensively for over a century because of their promise …