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–xF x FeAs (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 (K x picene) shows Tc values of 7 K and 18 K, depending on the metal content. The drop of magnetization in K x picene 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 K x picene shows that organic hydrocarbons are promising candidates for improved Tc values.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution
Open Access articles citing this article.
Nature Communications Open Access 07 October 2021
Scientific Reports Open Access 27 December 2019
Synthesis of the extended phenacene molecules, phenacene and phenacene, and their performance in a field-effect transistor
Scientific Reports Open Access 08 March 2019
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Emery, N. et al. Superconductivity of bulk CaC6 . Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 087003 (2005)
Ekimov, E. A. et al. Superconductivity in diamond. Nature 428, 542–545 (2004)
Kamihara, Y., Watanabe, T., Hirano, M. & Hosono, H. Iron-based layered superconductor La[O1-xFx]FeAs (x = 0.05 – 0.12) with T c = 26 K. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 130, 3296–3297 (2008)
Hebard, A. F. et al. Superconductivity at 18 K in potassium-doped C60 . Nature 350, 600–601 (1991)
Tanigaki, K. et al. Superconductivity at 33 K in CsxRbyC60 . Nature 352, 222–223 (1991)
Fleming, R. M. et al. Relation of structure and superconducting transition temperatures in A3C60 . Nature 352, 787–788 (1991)
Palstra, T. T. M. et al. Superconductivity at 40 K in cesium doped C60 . Solid State Commun. 93, 327–330 (1995)
Ganin, A. Y. et al. Bulk superconductivity at 38 K in a molecular system. Nature Mater. 7, 367–371 (2008)
Takabayashi, Y. et al. The disorder-free non-BCS superconductor Cs3C60 emerges from an antiferromagnetic insulator parent state. Science 323, 1585–1590 (2009)
Weller, T. E. et al. Superconductivity in the intercalated graphite compounds, C6Yb and C6Ca. Nature Phys. 1, 39–41 (2005)
Hannay, N. B. et al. Superconductivity in graphitic compounds. Phys. Rev. Lett. 14, 225–226 (1965)
Minakata, T. et al. Conducting thin films of pentacene doped with alkaline metals. J. Appl. Phys. 74, 1079–1082 (1993)
Matsuo, Y., Sasaki, S. & Ikehata, S. Stage structure and electrical properties of rubidium-doped pentacene. Phys. Lett. A 321, 62–66 (2004)
Kaneko, Y., Suzuki, T., Matsuo, Y. & Ikehata, S. Metallic electrical conduction in alkaline metal-doped pentacene. Synth. Met. 154, 177–180 (2005)
Okamoto, H. et al. Air-assisted high-performance field-effect transistor with thin films of picene. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 130, 10470–10471 (2008)
Kawasaki, N. et al. Trap states and transport characteristics in picene thin film field-effect transistor. Appl. Phys. Lett. 94, 043310 (2009)
Kaji, Y. et al. High-performance C60 and picene thin film field-effect transistors with conducting polymer electrodes in bottom contact structure. Org. Electron. 10, 432–436 (2009)
De, A., Ghosh, R., Roychowdhury, S. & Roychowdhury, P. Structural analysis of picene, C22H14 . Acta Crystallogr. C 41, 907–909 (1985)
Schirber, J. E. et al. Pressure-temperature phase diagram, inverse isotope effect, and superconductivity in excess of 13 K in κ-(BEDT-TTF)2Cu[N(CN)2]Cl, where BEDT-TTF is bis(ethylenedithio)tetrathiafulvalene. Phys. Rev. B 44, 4666–4669 (1991)
Hansson, A., Bohlin, J. & Stafstrom, S. Structural and electronic transitions in potassium-doped pentacene. Phys. Rev. B 73, 184114 (2006)
The X-ray diffraction patterns were measured with synchrotron radiation at KEK-PF (proposal no. 2007G612), Tsukuba, Japan. This work was supported in part by Grants-in-Aid 20045012 and 18340104 from MEXT, Japan.
Author Contributions R.M., Y.S., Y.Y. and H.M. contributed equally to the preparation of superconducting picene materials and to the performance of magnetic susceptibility measurements with the assistance of T.K. and Y.K.; H.O. and M.Y. synthesized high-quality picene; N.K. and Y.M. provided assistance with X-ray diffraction measurements; N.I. and A.F. provided discussions and suggestions for the overall project, and discussed the experimental data with T.K. and Y.K.; Y.K. was responsible for the overall project direction, planning and integration among different research units.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
About this article
Cite this article
Mitsuhashi, R., Suzuki, Y., Yamanari, Y. et al. Superconductivity in alkali-metal-doped picene. Nature 464, 76–79 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature08859
Journal of Computational Electronics (2022)
Study of the Optoelectronic, Nonlinear Properties and Spectroscopic analysis of the molecule fulminene using ab initio and DFT methods
Optical and Quantum Electronics (2022)
Nature Communications (2021)
Observations of abundant structural and electronic phases in potassium-doped single-layer p-quaterphenyl film
Science China Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy (2021)
Science China Chemistry (2020)