ELEC_ENG 389: Superconductivity and its Applications

Quarter Offered

None : MWF 11-11:50 ; Khalili


ELEC_ENG 381 or consent of instructor.


Properties of materials in the superconducting state; charge flow dynamics of type II superconductors; high T c superconductors; applications for computers and high-frequency devices.

REQUIRED TEXTS: T. Van Duzer and C. W. Turner, Principles of Superconductive Devices and Circuits , Prentice Hall, 2 nd edition, 1999.

REFERENCE TEXTS: J.D. Doss, Engineers Guide to High-Temperature Superconductivity , Wiley, 1989.; S. T. Ruggiero and D. A. Rudman, Superconducting Devices (1990); High-Temperature Superconducting Materials Science and Engineering , edited by Donglu Shi (1995).

COURSE INSTRUCTOR: Prof. Pedram Khalili

COURSE COORDINATOR: Prof. Manijeh Razeghi

COURSE GOALS: To introduce students to the unusual properties that are exhibited by superconducting materials that can have an impact on the development of electrical and electronic devices. The emphasis is primarily through an electromagnetic treatment without requiring the need for an advanced quantum physics approach. Students from different disciplines and different levels of experience should be able to correlate the potential of the unusual aspects of superconductors, as compared to normal conductors, with what might be a valuable area to consider for some future need in their professional careers.

PREREQUISITES BY TOPIC: Introduction to physical electronics, electromagnetics, thermodynamics, introduction to electronic materials, basic concepts of quantum physics.


WEEK 1 Historical review, the state of zero resistance, Meissner effect

WEEK 2 Electrodynamics for zero resistance metals, the critical magnetic field, the London Theory (Review of magnetic field concepts, magnetic field units)

WEEK 3 Review of thermodynamics and the thermodynamical characterization of a metal in the superconducting state, the intermediate state, concept of coherence. Type I superconductors

WEEK 4 Current transport in superconductors, second-order phase transitions & the Ginzburg-Landau calculation for magnetic flux penetration

WEEK 5 Microscopic theory of superconductivity, concepts of the energy gap and Cooper pairs, introduction to the BCS theory, the superconducting ground state, long range order in solids

WEEK 6 Identification of the BCS results with experimental determination of the critical field, critical temperature and the heat capacity; quantum interference, the fluxoid.

WEEKS 7 & 8 The mixed state and type-II superconductors, concept of the vortex, critical fields; critical-state models of Beam and Kim et al, flux-flow resistivity; critical currents; flux pinning, creep and flow; thin films; two-fluid model, high frequency effects and microwave surface resistance.

WEEK 9: Normal and superconductive tunneling, quasiparticle tunneling, Josephson tunneling, the Ambegaokar - Baratoff critical current, weak-links, the SQUID

WEEK 10 Superconducting materials; the A15-type compounds; the high T c ceramic superconductors, physical properties of high T c materials - "the good and the bad"; new topics in superconductivity; novel superconductors; safety considerations.

Extra Sessions Engineering applications of superconductivity


PRESENTATIONS AND REPORTS : All students will present a 30-minute on an application topic for the distributed list during the last two weeks of the class.



Homeworks - 50%

Projects - 50%

COURSE OBJECTIVES: When a student completes this course, s/he should be able to:

• Describe the difference between normal and superconducting metals.

• Understand the most important theories to explain superconductivity.

• Understand the basic superconductor parameters: critical temperature, critical current density, critical magnetic field, penetration depth, coherence length, surface impedance, tunneling effects.

• Show general familiarity with basic models for type II superconductors.

• Understand the function, operating parameters, and design limitations for superconductors applications-devices; Josephson junctions, SQUID magnetometers, filters for mobile communications and other microwave device applications, and levitation for large scale systems.

• Compare the use, or potential use of, the low T c superconductors (such A15 compounds) and new nitride compositions with the high T c systems for designing both small and large scale applications.

• Predict on the basis of current progress and projected directions for superconductivity R&D in electrical engineering and related fields what are the most likely and least likely successes that can be anticipated for applications in the next ten years.

ABET CONTENT CATEGORY: 50% Engineering (Design component) and 50% Basic Science.