ATLAS Detector at CERN

Applied Superconductivity Conference

Posted 29 August 2014 4:00 AM by admin

Post submitted by:  

     Craig Simpson   

     New England Wire Technologies Director of Engineering


The Applied Superconductivity Conference is held every other year with an ever changing venue within the US.  This year’s theme: Race to Energy Efficiency.  Attendees range from scientists, physicists, engineers, academics, suppliers and more.  All asking the same question, what is new in the field of superconductivity?  The ASC always satisfies to provide a forum to discuss just that.  In addition to the exhibits where attendees and suppliers can network and talk about future development activities or project details, there are a number of plenary sessions, oral presentations and poster sessions that muse theory, provide data results and challenge the existing status quo of the industry.  This year’s conference also featured several showings of the documentary, Particle Fever (available on Netflix now, or click the link to view the trailer).  It depicts how the theory and experimental parts of high-energy physics “collide” as you follow the science, fabrication and experiments of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.      

So, someone might be asking, what is superconductivity?  Well, the scientific community would define it as a unique phenomenon of nature.  Take everything that you know about how electrical current moves through material and toss it out the window.  At low temperatures (more on that below) superconductors exhibit some unparalleled properties such as: zero resistance to direct current, extremely low resistance at high frequencies, near light speed signal transmission, exceptionally high current carrying density, great sensitivity to magnetic field and more.  Low temperature superconductors like NbTi (Niobium-Titanium) and Nb3Sn (Niobium-Tin) operate at liquid helium temperatures of around 4°K (-269°C) and high temperature superconductors like YBa2Cu3O7 (Yttrium Barium Copper Oxide – YBCO) operate at liquid nitrogen temperatures of approximately 77°K (-196°C).  What does all this mean?  It means products that are smaller and lighter with equal or greater current carrying capacity.  It means less energy wasted and more efficient devices.  It means windings that produce powerful and controllable magnetic fields.  It means – that as a result of this electrical “superconductivity” new innovative technologies can be produced that will significantly impact people’s daily lives.

Just a few of the existing applications made possible with superconductors are: fusion reactors, high-energy accelerators and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).  Further development continues to improve upon these processes as well as enhance performance and capabilities in other emerging applications such as: electric power, transportation, medicine, communication and scientific research.  Whether leveraging high power densities and electrical efficiencies for improved power generation and transmission or for more efficient and powerful ship propulsion systems and high magnetic field windings for levitated trains and fusion reactors, superconductor wires and cables are proving cornerstone.  New England Wire Technologies is excited to play a part in the superconductivity industry by providing specialty cable and services that are currently breaking new ground and poised to lead the way for future advancements.    For more information, click here.   


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