DOI: 10.1038/nature08859
Journal: Nature
Year of Publication: 2011
Volume: 464
Issue: 7285
Authors: Ryoji Mitsuhashi, Yuta Suzuki, Yusuke Yamanari, Hiroki Mitamura, Takashi Kambe, Naoshi Ikeda, Hideki Okamoto, Akihiko Fujiwara, Minoru Yamaji, Naoko Kawasaki, Yutaka Maniwa & Yoshihiro Kubozono


Efforts to identify and develop new superconducting materials continue apace, motivated by both fundamental science and the prospects for application. For example, several new superconducting material systems have been developed in the recent past, including calcium-intercalated graphite compounds1, boron-doped diamond2 and—most prominently—iron arsenides such as LaO1–xFxFeAs (ref. 3). In the case of organic superconductors, however, no new material system with a high superconducting transition temperature (Tc) has been discovered in the past decade. Here we report that intercalating an alkali metal into picene, a wide-bandgap semiconducting solid hydrocarbon, produces metallic behaviour and superconductivity. Solid potassium-intercalated picene (Kxpicene) shows Tc values of 7 K and 18 K, depending on the metal content. The drop of magnetization in Kxpicene solids at the transition temperature is sharp (<2 K), similar to the behaviour of Ca-intercalated graphite1. The Tc of 18 K is comparable to that of K-intercalated C60 (ref. 4). This discovery of superconductivity in Kxpicene shows that organic hydrocarbons are promising candidates for improved Tc values.