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Novel Hydrogen-rich Materials at High Pressures:
Possible Route to Room Temperature
Superconductivity

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Quantum materials are where the extraordinary effects of quantum mechanics give rise to
exotic and often unprecedented properties. The properties of quantum materials are anomalously
sensitive to external stimuli. At very high pressures, the orbital wave function overlap between
neighboring sites in a crystal increases, in turn increasing the ratio of kinetic (inter-site charge hopping)
to potential (on-site Coulomb repulsion) energy, providing a wealth of correlated electron phenomena,
e.g., insulator-metal transitions, colossal magnetoresistance, valence fluctuations, superconductivity,
superfludity, and magnetic order. The occurrence of such a wide range of correlated electron
phenomena arises from a delicate interplay between competing interactions that can be manipulated
by pressure, offering a raft of rich and unexplored phase space for the study of quantum phases of
matter. Superconductivity has been one of the most abstruse quantum phases in condensed matter
physics. Efforts to identify and develop room temperature superconducting materials are an intensive
area of research, motivated by both fundamental science and the prospects for applications. More
than a century of rigorous research has led physicists to believe that the highest Tc that can be achieved
is 40K for the conventional superconductors. However, the recent discovery of superconductivity
in hydrogen sulfide at 203K changed the notion of what might be possible for phonon–mediated
superconductors. This paradigm shift in our understanding on superconductivity centered around
hydrogen—the most abundant element in the universe.