Superconducting nanodots

American Superconductor has filed a patent application for a new manufacturing technique that delivers a 30% increase in the electric current-carrying capability of the company’s second generation high temperature superconductor wire.

American Superconductor has filed a patent application for a new manufacturing technique that delivers a 30% increase in the electric current-carrying capability of the company’s second generation (2G) high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire.

This new nanotechnology process produces a dispersion of ‘nanodots’ throughout the superconductor coating of the company’s wire.

The nanodots themselves are actually particles of yttrium oxide and yttrium cuprate, inorganic materials typically less than 100 atoms across. The nanodots immobilise or ‘pin’ magnetic vortices or ‘flux lines’ associated with current flow in the superconductor.

AMSC’s 2G HTS wire is being designed as a form-fit-function replacement for its first generation (1G) HTS wire, but will cost two to five times less to manufacture.

‘We have been selling second generation HTS wire in up to 10-metre lengths to select customers around the world and over the next few months we expect to incorporate nanodots into this wire,’ said Dave Paratore, senior vice president and general manager of AMSC Wires.

Paratore added that AMSC remains on track with its plan to produce 2G HTS wire in commercial volumes in three to four years.