Materials


Superconductors

Technical Applications

Summary

Superconductors are materials that conduct electricity without loss.

Characteristics

Such materials are used for high-field magnets in several applications, such as high-energy physics and high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance imaging machines. They are also used to construct sensitive instruments for measuring changes in magnetic fields and are then used in medical instruments and in geological exploration.

ImpactEconomy

The losses in electric transmission could be reduced if high-temperature superconducting transmission lines became practical, providing less expensive power for job creation and economic growth. When the materials become commercially viable, their effects could also include cheaper magnetic levitation transportation systems, and better scientific infrastructure for those fields that use superconducting magnets.

WorldView

Europe, led by Germany, trails the leaders by a few years. Russia has some capability, particularly in LTS for manufacturing wires and magnets. Much of this strength probably derives from work on fusion devices and particle accelerators.