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Ceramic superconductor/metal composite materials employing the superconducting proximity effect

United States Patent

July 16, 2002
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Superconducting composite materials having particles of superconducting material disposed in a metal matrix material with a high electron-boson coupling coefficient (.lambda.). The superconducting particles can comprise any type of superconductor including Laves phase materials, Chevrel phase materials, A15 compounds, and perovskite cuprate ceramics. The particles preferably have dimensions of about 10-500 nanometers. The particles preferably have dimensions larger than the superconducting coherence length of the superconducting material. The metal matrix material has a .lambda. greater than 0.2, preferably the .lambda. is much higher than 0.2. The metal matrix material is a good proximity superconductor due to its high .lambda.. When cooled, the superconductor particles cause the metal matrix material to become superconducting due to the proximity effect. In cases where the particles and the metal matrix material are chemically incompatible (i.e., reactive in a way that destroys superconductivity), the particles are provided with a thin protective metal coating. The coating is chemically compatible with the particles and metal matrix material. High Temperature Superconducting (HTS) cuprate ceramic particles are reactive and therefore require a coating of a noble metal resistant to oxidation (e.g., silver, gold). The proximity effect extends through the metal coating. With certain superconductors, non-noble metals can be used for the coating.
Holcomb; Matthew J. (Manhattan Beach, CA)
The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University (Stanford, CA)
09/ 433,267
November 4, 1999
The development of this invention was supported in part by grant number DEFG03-86ER45245-A012 from the U.S. Department of Energy. The United States Government has certain rights in the invention.