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Superconductor scientist faces scrutiny as a paper is retracted

A superconductor is a material that easily conducts electric current. If such a substance worked at everyday temperatures, it could be used in power transmission lines, magnetic resonance imaging machines, and almost any device that uses electricity. Current superconductors have to be cooled to temperatures that limit their usefulness.

Over the past few weeks, Excitement about LK-99A different material that South Korean scientists say is a room-temperature superconductor has taken over social media, though much of that excitement has died down after other scientists were unable to confirm the superconductivity observations and came up with plausible alternative explanations. It is done.

However, the fundamental laws of physics do not prohibit the possibility of room-temperature superconductors, and the search for such materials will continue.

in March A paper published in the journal NatureDr. Dias and his colleagues said they have discovered a material that is superconducting at temperatures up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, although it needs to be squeezed under a pressure of 145,000 pounds per square inch.

Many other scientists greeted the announcement with skepticism because it was described in Dr Dias’s earlier Nature paper different and less practical superconducting materials was already retreat,

Questions were also raised about the now withdrawn Physical Review Letters paper. James Hamlin, professor of physics at the University of Florida, told the journal’s editors that the curves in one of the figures for the paper describing electrical resistance in the chemical compound manganese sulfide resemble those in Dr. Dias’s doctoral thesis, which described the behavior Has gone. a different material.

The magazine recruited outside experts who produced three independent reports to review the figures and underlying data. “The findings strongly support allegations of data fabrication/falsification,” the journal’s editors wrote in an email to the paper’s authors on July 10.

Dr. Dias’s latest response is “both inadequate and disappointing,” said one of the reviewers, who asked to remain anonymous because the reviewers are not publicly identified.

During the months-long conversation between the paper’s authors, Dr. Hamlin, and the editors of Physical Review Letters, there was no mention of Adobe Illustrator or what Dr. Dias said was an improved graph that his lab produced in December. I went. 2019, said the reviewer.

Both the University of Rochester and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the reviewer said, should conduct “open, transparent investigations of what appears to be possible misconduct”.

Dr. Salamat and UNLV research professor Keith V. Lawler, another lead author of the manganese sulfide paper, did not respond to requests for comment.

“A comprehensive investigation into the questions raised about the integrity of all data at issue in this and other studies is ongoing,” a spokesperson for the University of Rochester said in an email.

The university had previously carried out three preliminary investigations into Dr Dias’s research and decided the concerns did not require further investigation. This time, the university decided to take the next step, an investigation. mandated by its policy on research misconduct,

The university does not plan to make public the findings of the investigation, the spokesperson said.

On Tuesday, Dr. Hamlin said he was glad the magazine took his concerns seriously. She added that there are two additional examples of apparent data duplication in Dr. Dias’s work and she hopes they will be reviewed as well. one is included Another Nature paper, The second is what Dr. Hamlin describes as a duplication of the data in Dr. Dias’s thesis.

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