Back in March, a paper published in Nature posited that it was possible to create a near-ambient temperature superconductor. Now, several months after the study’s first publishing, Nature has offered a retraction on the room-temperature superconductor discovery, with multiple authors stating that several issues undermine the paper’s integrity.
The journal shared the retraction in early November, writing, “This article has been retracted at the request of the authors Nathan Dasenbrock-Gammon, Elliot Snider, Raymond McBride, Hiranya Pasan, Dylan Durkee, Sachith E. Dissanayake, Keith V. Lawler and Ashkan Salamat.”
The statement continues, “They have expressed the view as researchers who contributed to the work that the published paper does not accurately reflect the provenance of the investigated materials, the experimental measurements undertaken and the data-processing protocols applied. The above-named authors have concluded that these issues undermine the integrity of the published paper.”
The retraction of this room-temperature superconductor is huge because the discovery had the potential to revolutionize several industries if it proved possible. However, there were already some issues surrounding the discovery, the new statement admits. With the authors joining the voices of those concerned about the discovery, it made sense to retract it completely.
Still, it is always disappointing to see such a huge discovery undermined in any way. While the journal didn’t say exactly what the problem was, we do know that other near room-temperature superconductor discoveries have fallen through in the past, too, with issues recreating the circumstances that the researchers used in the first place.
The possibility of a room-temperature superconductor could change in the future. For now, though, we’ll have to take solace in the fact that many of the involved researchers were confident in retracting their discovery and that we will likely see even more renewed interest in this particular area of study, and perhaps even one day, we’ll see these same authors sharing a story of success in the field.