Slim-Look Superconductors Lead the Applications Race

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Science  16 Aug 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5277, pp. 882-883
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5277.882


A decade on from the discovery of high-temperature superconductivity (HTS), the applications of the these materials expected to hit the market soon are not the high-speed trains and loss-free powerlines originally expected, but electronic devices. So-called bulk applications of HTS hit the buffers because of the materials' poor mechanical properties—they are brittle and crumbly—and their inability to carry large currents. But HTS ceramics have some remarkable electronic properties and it is as thin films that they will first find their way into practical uses, for example as super-sensitive magnetic detectors used for medical diagnosis and very narrow-waveband microwave filters for communications.