Skip to main content

Investigation of High Voltage Discharges in Low Pressure Gases Through Large Ceramic Superconducting Electrodes

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.


A device has been built and tested, in which a ceramic superconducting cathode and a copper anode cause electrical discharges in low pressure gases, at temperatures between 50 and 70 K. The electrodes are connected to a capacitors array charged up to 2000 kV; peak currents are of the order of 104 A. The cathode has the diameter of 10 cm and is fabricated by OCMTG technology. In discharges at voltage above 500 kV two new phenomena were observed, probably related to each other. First, the discharge does not look like a spark, but is a flat, glowing discharge, which originates from the whole surface of the superconducting electrode. Furthermore, a radiation pulse is emitted at the discharge, which propagates orthogonally to the cathode, towards the anode and beyond it, in a collimated beam, apparently without any attenuation. The radiation pulse carries an energy of 10−3 J at least. The features and the nature of this radiation have been investigated by several means, still it was not possible to identify it; we can only exclude that it is electromagnetic radiation or any other radiation with energy-momentum relationship E=cp.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. H. Takaichi, Melt-Processed High-Temperature Superconductors, M. Murakami (ed.), World Scientific, London (1990), p. 320. J. R. Hull and R. B. Poeppel, HTS Materials, Bulk Proc. and Bulk Appl., World Scientific, Singapore (1992), p. 484.

    Google Scholar 

  2. K. K. Lvovich, Hysteresis electrical motors with bulk melt-textured YBCO, Mater. Sci. Eng. B 53, 216–219 (1998). Y. J. Yu et al., A superconducting magnet system for MHD propulsion research, IEEE T. Appl. Supercon. 7(2)(June 1997).

    Google Scholar 

  3. M. Tonouchi, M. Tani, Z. Wang, K. Sakai, N. Wada, and M. Hangyo, Novel terahertz radiation from flux-trapped YBCO thin films excited by femtosecond laser pulses, Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 36, L93-L95 (1997).

    Google Scholar 

  4. M. Hangyo, S. Tomozawa, Y. Murakami, M. Tonouchi, M. Tani, Z. Wang, K. Sakai, and S. Nakashima, Terahertz radiation from superconducting YBCO thin films excited by femtosecond optical pulses, Appl. Phys. Lett. 69(14),2122–2124(1996).

    Google Scholar 

  5. U. Balachandran, R. B. Poeppel, J. E. Emerson, S. A. Johnson, M. T. Lanagan, C. A. Youngdahl, Donglu Shi, K. C. Goretta, and N. G. Eror, Synthesis of phase-pure orthorhombic YBa2Cu3Ox under low oxygen pressure, Materials Letters 8, 454–456 (1989).

    Google Scholar 

  6. T. B. Lindemer, F. A. Washburn, C. S. MacDougall, and O. B. Cavin, Synthesis of Y-Ba-Cu-O superconductors in subatmospheric oxygen, Physica C 174, 135–143 (1991).

    Google Scholar 

  7. M. Murakami, Processing of Bulk YBaCuO, Supercond. Sci. Technol., Vol. 5 (1992), pp. 185–203.

    Google Scholar 

  8. S. Nariki, N. Sakai, and M. Murakami, Fabrication of large melt-textured Gd-Ba-Cu-O superconductor with Ag addition, Physica C: Superconductivity 341–348(1–4), 2409–2412 (2000).

    Google Scholar 

  9. M. Muralidhar, S. Koishikawa, M. R. Koblischka, and M. Murakami, Study of superconducting properties of OCMG processed (Nd, Eu, Gd)-Ba-Cu-O with Pr doping, Physica C: Superconductivity 314(3–4), 277–284 (1999).

    Google Scholar 

  10. S. I. Yoo, N. Sakai, T. Higuchi, and M. Murakami, Melt processing for obtaining NdBa2Cu3Oy superconductors with high Tc and large Jc, Appl. Phys. Lett. 65, 633–635 (1994).

    Google Scholar 

  11. V. R. Todt, X. F. Zhang, and D. J. Miller, Nucleation and growth of single-and multiple-domain YBa2Cu3Ox levitators: Influence of seed crystallofraphy, IEEE T. Appl. Supercon. 7(2), 1801–1804 (June 1997).

    Google Scholar 

  12. Chan-Joong Kim, Young A. Jee, Gye-Won Hong, Tae-Hyun Sung, Young-Hee Han, Sang-Chul Han, Sang-Joon Kim, W. Bieger, and G. Fuchs, Effects of the seed dimension on the top surface growth mode and the magnetic properties of top-seeded melt growth processed YBCO superconductors, Physica C 331, 274–284 (2000).

    Google Scholar 

  13. J. Waldram, Superconductivity of Metals and Cuprates, IoP, London (1996).

    Google Scholar 

  14. G. A. Ummarino, Possible Alterations of the Gravitational Field in a Superconductor, report cond-mat/0010399.

  15. G. Fontana, A Possibility of Emission of High Frequency Gravitational Radiation from Junctions between d-Wave and s-Wave Superconductors, report cond-mat/9812070; G. Fontana, Gravitational radiation and its application to space travel, in CP504, Space Technology and Applications International Forum-2000, M. S. El-Genk (ed.), AiP, p. 1085.

  16. I. Ciufolini and J. Wheeler, Gravitation and Inertia, Princeton Series in Physics, Chap. 6., Princeton university press(1995). S. M. Carroll and G. B. Field, Consequences of propagating torsion in connection-dynamic theories of gravity, Phys. Rev. D 50, 3867(1994).

  17. Ning Li and D. Torr, Effects of a gravitomagnetic field on pure superconductors, Phys. Rev. D 43, 457(1991); Ning Li and auD. Torr, Gravitational effects on the magnetic attenuation of superconductors, Phys. Rev. B 64, 5489(1992). A. Y. Akimov and V. Y. Tarasenko, Models of polarization states of the physical vacuum and torsion fields, Izd. Vuzov. Fizika 13–23 (Nov. 3, 1992).

    Google Scholar 

  18. G. Modanese, Virtual dipoles and large fluctuations in quantum gravity, Phys. Lett. B 460, 276(1999); G. Modanese, Large “dipolar” Fluctuations in quantum gravity, Nuclear Phys. B 588, 419–435 (2000); G. Modanese, Paradox of virtual dipoles in the Einstein action, Phys. Rev. D 62, 087502(2000). G. Modanese, Local contribution of a quantum condensate to the vacuum energy density, Modern Phys. Lett. A 18, 683(2003).

    Google Scholar 

  19. G. Modanese, Potential energy in quantum gravity, Nuclear Phys. B 434, 697(1995).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Podkletnov, E., Modanese, G. Investigation of High Voltage Discharges in Low Pressure Gases Through Large Ceramic Superconducting Electrodes. Journal of Low Temperature Physics 132, 239–259 (2003).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

  • cathode
  • superconducting electrodes
  • emitter