Electromagnetic Properties of Superconductors

  • Brian B. Schwartz
  • Sonia Frota-Pessôa


Superconductivity is an important topic of current basic research and, at the same time, is rich in technical applications. Most applications take advantage of the highly unusual electromagnetic properties of a superconductor. In particular, it has been observed that once a current is stabilized in a superconducting ring it will persist for more than two years without any sign of decaying. (The two year experiment was eventually interrupted for practical reasons.) The superconducting ring exhibits no electrical resistivity, no heating, no losses. Besides the seemingly strange behavior of a material exhibiting precisely zero resistance there are other effects that can be observed on a macroscopic scale. They arrive from the fact that the supèrconducting state is essentially a special quantum condensation of electrons. This quantum behavior, so unusual on the basis of our everyday experience, can be verified quite easily in such observations as the quantization of magnetic flux within the hole of a ring superconductor or the Josephson effect.


Critical Field Superconducting State Josephson Junction Cooper Pair Electromagnetic Property 


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References and Suggested Reading

Key Articles, Reviews and Conference Proceedings

  1. Abrikosov, A. A., 1957, “Superconductors of the Second Kind,” Zh. Eksperim. Teor. Fiz. 32 [Soviet Phys.—JETP 5, 1174 (1957)].Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, P. W., 1967, “The Josephson Effect and Quantum Coherence Measurements in Superconductors and Superfiuids,” in Progress in Low Temperature Physics, edited by C. J. Gorter (North-Holland Publishing Company, Amsterdam) Vol. V: A very physical picture of the Josephson effect.Google Scholar
  3. Bardeen, J., 1956, “Theory of Superconductivity,” in Handbuch der Physik, edited by S. Flügg (Springer-Verlag OHG, Berlin) Vol. 15: A survey of thoughts and experiments in superconductivity immediately before the BCS breakthrough.Google Scholar
  4. Bardeen, J., and J. R. Schrieffer, 1961, “Recent Developments in Superconductivity,” in Progress in Low Temperature Physics, edited by C. J. Gorter (North-Holland Publishing Company, Amsterdam) Vol. III: A good review of the BCS theory and the immediate reaction both in theory and experiment.Google Scholar
  5. Feynman, R. P., 1965, The Feynman Lectures on Physics (Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Mass.) Vol. III, ch. 21.MATHGoogle Scholar
  6. Ginsburg, V. L. and L. D. Landau, 1950, Zh. Eksperim Teor. Fiz. 20, 1064: Phase treatment approach for a phenomenological treatment of superconductivity which was shown to be rigorous using the Cooper pair charge 2e for the carrier charge. Used by Abrikosov to develop his theory of type II superconductors.Google Scholar
  7. Josephson, B. D., 1962, “Possible New Effects in Superconducting Tunneling,” Phys. Letters 1, 251: A very short letter on the effect for which Josephson won the Nobel prize in 1973.Google Scholar
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  10. XV° Conference International sur le Physique à Base Temperature, Aout 1978, Journale de Physique, Colloque C-6, supplement au n°8, Vols. 1–3.Google Scholar
  11. Proceedings of the Applied Superconductivity Conference (1976), 1977, IEEE Transactions on Magnetics MA G-13, I; (1978), 1979, IEEE Transactions on Magnetics MAG-15, 1; (1980), 1981, IEEE Transactions on Magnetics MAG-17, 1.Google Scholar
  12. Silver, A. H., and J Zimmerman, 1967, “Quantum States and Transitions in Weakly Connected Superconducting Rings,” Phys. Rev. 157, 317: A beautiful early exposition of the quantum device possibilities using superconductors.Google Scholar

Authored Books

  1. deGennes, P. G., 1966, Superconductivity in Metals and Alloys (W. A. Benjamin, Inc., New York ): A very good physical understanding of superconductivity, especially type II superconductors.Google Scholar
  2. London, F., 1950, Superfluids (John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York) Vol. 1: Gives an excellant picture of the phenomenological theory of superconductivity before the explosive progress in the 1950 decade. The famous prediction of flux quantization appears on page 152.Google Scholar
  3. Lynton, E. A., 1969, Superconductivity, 3rd ed. (Menthuen and Co., Ltd. London ): A competent brief survey which includes most of the later developments.Google Scholar
  4. Saint-James, D., G. Sarma, and E. J. Thomas, 1969, Type II Superconductivity (Pergamon Press, New York ): An excellent review of type II superconductors in good detail often using a combination of rigorous, phenomenological, and physical viewpoints.Google Scholar
  5. Schrieffer, J. R., 1964, Theory of Superconductivity (W. A. Benjamin, Inc., New York ): An advanced presentation of the theory of superconductivity. A quantum mechanics and solid state physics background is required.Google Scholar
  6. Solymar, L., 1972, Superconductive Tunnelling and Applications (Wiley-Interscience, New York). Tinkham, M., 1975, Introduction to Superconductivity (McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York ): A readable clear presentation of the basic physics of superconductivity.Google Scholar

Edited Volumes

  1. Foner, S., and B. B. Schwartz, editors, 1974, Superconducting Machines and Devices: Large Systems Applications (Plenum Press, New York): Proceedings of a NATO Summer School 1973; detailed review of the large-scale applications of superconductivity including magnet technology rotating machines, magnetic levitations, and power transmission.Google Scholar
  2. Foner, S., and B. B. Schwartz, editors, 1981, Superconductor Materials Science: Metallurgy, Fabrication, and Applications (Plenum Press, New York): Proceedings of a NATO Summer School 1980; covers in detail the properties and fabrication of superconducting materials including alternate technologies for ductile A-15 materials.Google Scholar
  3. Parks, R. D., editor, 1969, Superconductivity (Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York) Vols. I and II: An excellent treatise with specialized chapters on almost all areas of supercoductivity theory, experiment, and quantum effects in superconductors; very useful for the development of a firm background.Google Scholar
  4. Schwartz, B. B., and S. Foner, editors, 1977, Superconductor Applications: SQUIDs and Machines (Plenum Press, New York): Proceedings of a NATO Summer School 1976; covers in great detail the physics and technology of Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices and also includes a review of Large-Scale Applications of Superconductivity.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian B. Schwartz
  • Sonia Frota-Pessôa

There are no affiliations available

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