Derek’s original hope was since the preparation of the material was relatively simple that replication of the material might be straightforward. This. . .has not been the case. Not anywhere even near the case.
He then describes how bad the replication efforts have been and how poorly the Korean preprints described the process.
Nextbigfuture emphasizes that the disappointment and misjudgement was upon those who thought LK99 would be easy to replicate and that the description provided was sufficient.
The ignored counter evidence to trying to make a good copy of LK99 would be easy:
1. the authors said that of the thousands of samples that they made only 10% worked. The original team who are presumably the best and most experienced at this had a lot of trouble making enough to be measurable and they only had the process good enough to work one in ten times.
2. A widely followed Twitter reported step by step effort at replication had some partial levitation. It was a tiny flake that was about one part per million of the original material.
3. The original reported measurements of the LK99 bulk material never reported superconducting resistance. The only measurement that the team had with superconducting low resistance was the thin film chemical vapor deposition material.
None of the teams who have published so far have attempted to make the chemical vapor deposition version of LK99. This is likely because the description for this process was even worse with temperature ranges from 500 to 1000 degrees.
At this point it seems that there are (broadly speaking) two explanations for this situation. The first, which is far more likely at this point, is that the entire initial report was bungled and that there is no superconductor therein. That’s certainly the conclusion you’d draw from all the replication attempts, many of which have been from very serious and competent labs. The second, which is less likely but still possible, is that the Korean group has indeed made a superconductor but has (perhaps deliberately) not disclosed their best mode, because they care more about establishing a patent estate instead.
That interpretation might gain some support from things like this, an updated Korean-language patent application. I neither read nor speak Korean, unfortunately, but I can see that figure on the first page, and it shows zero resistance kicking in at a temperature of just under 105 C.
Nextbigfuture thinks the second option that the Korean LK99 group is focused on patents and monetization is far more likely. Why?
A Nobel prize is worth about $1 million but VC funding for a room temperature superconductor would be $1-10 billion.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.