The new superconductor is about 550,000 times stronger than the Earth's relatively low-density field, about 3,500 times the density of a fridge magnet, and over the twice as strong as the CMS Magnet of the Large Hadron Collider. Superconductivity is a phase transition that causes electrical resistance to reduce to zero, as the title suggests.
To get there you need something to cool to such a low temperature, which required the invention of the refrigeration cycle. A little over a decade after Hampson–Linde cycle came on the scene in the lab, they became available to other researchers. The helium cooling provided a perfect means to solidify a sample of supercooled metal mercury in order to find out which hypothesis was correct.
Mercury has passed into a new state, which on account of its extraordinary electrical properties may be called the superconductive state. The liquification of helium and Professor Onnes' pioneering findings were intriguing, but the only immediate discovery was the superconductance of lead in 1913. Soviet physics Professor Alexei Alexeyevich Abrikosov theorized the existence of Type I and Type II superconductors. Superconductors began to see commercial applications in the 1960s and 1970s and a number of compounds and elemental metals were found to superconduct.
The race was on, and since even higher temperature cuprate oxides in this class have been found.


While much glory has been awarded in the temperature race as scientists continue to try to find a room temperature superconductor (or at least one capable of superconducting at the temperature of frozen water), others have focused on commercializing the strengths of Type II superconductors -- lossless current transmission, magnetic field generation, and magnetic field storage.
Like all BCO superconductors, the metal oxides act as a superconducting quantum lattice at low temperatures, with the other compounds (typically barium and rare earth metals) acting as spacers.
The progress of the superconductor was supervised by Cambridge Professor Yun-Hua Shi -- an expert in the field.
To coax their formulation into reaching the record field strength, the team first used an unusually high silver percentage -- 15 percent by weight.
Samples of the carefully controlled metal mix were grown using top-seeded melt growth, which preserves single grains of metal, capable of storing much stronger fields. Aside from the extra silver and growth technique the other trick to breaking the record involved heating a stainless steel 304 ring and affixing it around the stack. The team continued to study that star stack and found it stored 10 T at 55 K and extrapolating from their data that it could potentially continue to store 17.6 T all the way up to 32 K, with careful controls. The sample was remagnetized and cracked at 18 Tesla at 26 K, leading the researchers to conclude that the achieved storage -- 17.6 Tesla was around the maximum possible before the brittle sample was overcome by stresses.
So there's at least one clear route with the record setting material to reaching even more impressive storage.
In terms of time to market, clearly we're a ways off, given that the team struggled to have the sample survive a handful of magnetization cycles.


Edit: A previous version of the piece referred to the superconductor as doped with gold oxide (AuO2). The idea is that you could have a generator that literally runs on the magnetic charge as fuel?
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His student Professor Willem Hendrik Keesom -- who he groomed as his successor -- was the first to solidify helium in 1926, the same year his mentor passed away.
This fabric can be hand washed or be wet and still maintain its minus-ion producing properties for those active in water sports.
Drawing energy from either would reduce the field's magnitude whereas a battery has a more or less constant voltage as it's energy is depleted. General disclaimer: All third party trademarks, images and copyrights on this page are used for the purpose of comparative advertising, criticism or review.



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