High Temperature Superconductor Basics | HTS Properties

This page describes High Temperature Superconductor(HTS) basics, HTS materials and High Temperature Superconductor properties.

The normal copper conductor has limited current capacity which is about 1 to 5 amperes/mm2. Moreover it has very high power losses for larger distances. High temperature superconductor (HTS) cable carry higher capacity current of greater than 100 amperes/mm2 and hardly lose any power. HTS has current loss of less than about 2%. Hence it is ideal for electric power transmission. BASF has developed HTS cable with four layers viz. optional protective layer(silver,gold or copper), HTS layer (MgO, YBa2CU30X, REBa2Cu3OX), Buffer layer and metal substrate.

Ordinary superconductor will have transition temperature below about 30K (i.e. -243.2 DegreeC) while HTS will have transition temperature of about 138 K. Transition temperature is the temperature below which they function as superconductor. Initially few compounds of oxygen and copper were used as HTS. Later on several compounds have been discovered to have HTS properties.

High Temperature Superconducting materials exhibit gradual change in transition temperature as function of magnetic field.

The first high temperature superconductor was discovered by researchers at IBM. Following table mentions useful oxide superconductors along with their internal structures & transition temperatures. Compounds such as Y-based, Bi-based, TI-based and Hg-based are used as high temperature superconductors.

Compound Tc (Kelvin) Crystal Structure
Y-Based YBa2Cu3O7 92 Orthorhombic
Bi Based Bi2Sr2CuO6 20 Tetragonal
Bi Based Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8 85 Tetragonal
Bi Based Bi2Sr2Ca2Cu3O6 110 Tetragonal
TI-Based TI2Ba2CuO6 84 Tetragonal
TI-Based TI2Ba2CaCu2O8 108 Tetragonal
TI-Based TI2Ba2Ca2Cu3O10 125 Tetragonal
TI-Based TIBa2Ca3Cu4O11 122 Tetragonal
Hg-Based HgBa2CuO4 94 Tetragonal
Hg-Based HgBa2CaCu2O6 128 Tetragonal
Hg-Based HgBa2Ca2Cu3O8 134 Tetragonal

Applications of High Temperature Superconductor

Following are the applications of high temperature superconductor:
• Power Transmission: Power cables made of HTC conductors have potential to be used for power transmission in the areas of high population density.
• Renewable Energy Sources: It can also be used to simplify integration of renewable energy sources. Using this superconductors, it has become possible to harvest energy by means of wind as well as hydro power generators.
• Magnetic Trains: Expulsion of magnetic field in superconducting state is useful in magnetically levitated trains. These trains will have no friction between wheels and tracks and hence high speed can be achieved. Huge magnetic field generated by superconductor will help levitate and propel the trains.
• Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Magnetic field produced by Superconductor is applied to human body for scanning and image detection purpose.

What is difference between

Diac vs Triac
LED vs Laser
Photo Diode vs Photo Transistor
Halfwave rectifier vs Fullwave rectifier

RF and Wireless Terminologies