Nature, a prestigious scientific journal, retracted a high-profile paper it had published in March claiming the discovery of a superconductor that worked at everyday temperatures. This was the second paper involving Ranga P. Dias, a professor at the University of Rochester, to be retracted by the journal in just over a year.
Dias and his colleagues’ research joins a long list of claims of room-temperature superconductors that have failed to pan out. The retraction raised questions for Nature about why the journal publicized the research after they had already scrutinized and retracted an earlier paper from the same group.
Although superconductors can seem almost magical as they conduct electricity without resistance, most require ultracold temperatures. A superconductor that works at everyday temperatures and pressures could have applications in various technologies, including M.R.I. scanners, electronic devices, and levitating trains.
Dr. Dias’s claim of a room-temperature superconductor did not create much excitement because many scientists in the field already regarded his work with doubt. The lutetium hydride that he and his colleagues claimed to have discovered could superconduct electricity at temperatures of up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but it still required significant pressure.
This retraction was the latest in a series of retractions involving Dr. Dias’ work. His earlier paper was retracted by another journal over concerns about the data’s accuracy. Dias has denied allegations of research misconduct and intends to resubmit the scientific paper to a journal with a more independent editorial process.