Journal of Superconductivity and Novel Magnetism

, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 2239–2246

Meissner Effect, Spin Meissner Effect and Charge Expulsion in Superconductors

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10948-011-1345-8

Cite this article as:
Hirsch, J.E. J Supercond Nov Magn (2013) 26: 2239. doi:10.1007/s10948-011-1345-8


The Meissner effect and the Spin Meissner effect are the spontaneous generation of charge and spin current respectively near the surface of a metal, making a transition to the superconducting state. The Meissner effect is well known but, I argue, not explained by the conventional theory; the Spin Meissner effect has yet to be detected. I propose that both effects take place in all superconductors, the first one in the presence of an applied magnetostatic field, the second one even in the absence of applied external fields. Both effects can be understood under the assumption that electrons expand their orbits and thereby lower their quantum kinetic energy in the transition to superconductivity. Associated with this process, the metal expels negative charge from the interior to the surface and an electric field is generated in the interior. The resulting charge current can be understood as arising from the magnetic Lorenz force on radially outgoing electrons, and the resulting spin current can be understood as arising from a spin Hall effect originating in the Rashba-like coupling of the electron magnetic moment to the internal electric field. The associated electrodynamics is qualitatively different from London electrodynamics, yet can be described by a small modification of the conventional London equations. The stability of the superconducting state and its macroscopic phase coherence hinge on the fact that the orbital angular momentum of the carriers of the spin current is found to be exactly ħ/2, indicating a topological origin. The simplicity and universality of our theory argue for its validity, and the occurrence of superconductivity in many classes of materials can be understood within our theory.


Spin Meissner effect Charge expulsion Rashba coupling 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, La JollaUSA