Visions 9: Superconductivity

Materials that conduct electricity with no resistance at accessible temperatures are poised to revolutionise communications, electronics and power supplies

Visions 9: Superconductivity

Ninety years ago a Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes showed that the electrical resistance of mercury when cooled below 4.2K (4.2 degrees above absolute zero) dropped to zero; the metal became ‘superconducting’. 

Kamerlingh Onnes soon realised the practical and economic significance of this extraordinary behaviour. Electrical power could be carried by superconducting wires without loss, and incredibly strong magnetic fields could be created with super-conducting electromagnets.

Visions 9: Superconductivity (PDF, 166 KB)

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