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Superconductor Basics

Superconductor Basics

When we push electrons through most conductors, there is resistance from other electrical fields that slows down the transmission of the electrical current and creates heat. In some materials, the electrons clump together in pairs (Cooper pairs) and move with reduced resistance. These materials are called superconductors and they are most effective at low temperatures and may require cooling by expensive liquid helium.

High temperature superconductors require much less cooling, allowing the use of liquid nitrogen instead of liquid helium and a large cost reduction in cooling. Ceramics, copper alloys, iron and magnesium are being used in high temperature superconductor research. The ultimate goal of these efforts is a room temperature superconductor.

Electromagnets are created by winding wire around a core that can help concentrate magnetic flux. When current flows through the coils, a magnetic field is produced that can be controlled by the current flow. Using superconducting materials in electromagnets increases the magnetic field and reduces the amount of current needed. This makes superconducting electromagnets ideal for magnetic levitation uses, specifically in transport systems. Particle accelerators and magnetic confinement reactors can use variations of the same technology.

Superconductors are also being used for power transmission and storage. A wide variety of sensors and scanners benefit from using superconductors. High speed computing may find advances with superconductors. Current applications for superconductors are limited by the low temperature cooling that is needed and the availability of high temperature superconducting materials. As we migrate out into space, this issue will fade and the use of superconductors in the extreme cold of space will flourish.

The video below explains superfluidity and points out the similarities between it and superconductivity.

Superfluidity of Ultracold Matter – Wolfgang Ketterle

– [youtube.com]

Source – http://serious-science.org/superfluid…
What are the connections between superconductivity and superfluidity? What is the current state of the theory of high temperature superconductivity? John D. MacArthur Professor of Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Nobel Prize winner in Physics Wolfgang Ketterle explains how fermions pair to form Bose-Einstein condensate.

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