August 7, 2012
The yttrium-based superconducting wire for high magnetic field(note 1), which was developed by SuperPower Inc. of the United States, a subsidiary of Furukawa Electric, was selected as a “2012 R&D 100”(note 2) winning technology. This award is organized by R&D Magazine, a US science and technology magazine, and SuperPower Inc. won it together with the University of Houston as joint developers of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The annual R&D 100 Awards, held for the 50th time this year, are granted to the 100 most promising research and development achievements from among products, processes, materials, and software introduced to the global market over the past year. It is a globally recognized award, and the U.S. Department of Energy posts Secretary Steven Chu’s comments emphasizing the significance of winning the award and expressing his congratulations to winners.
SuperPower Inc. and the University of Houston were highly evaluated for their practical application of the yttrium-based superconducting wire, the pinning function of which has been improved by evenly dispersing nanostructure oxides in the superconducting layer, giving the wire the ability to carry more current even in high magnetic fields. This wire is essential for superconducting devices in which wires are coiled and high magnetic fields are generated, such as SMES for electricity storage, wind power generators, MRI, and clinical accelerators.
Profile of SuperPower Inc.
|Head office||Schenectady, New York, the United States|
|Capital ratio||Wholly owned by Furukawa Electric|
|Number of employees||58|
|Business descriptions||Development and manufacturing of second-generation, high-temperature superconducting wires|
(note 1)Yttrium-based superconducting wire for high magnetic fields
In comparison to superconducting wires made of bismuth-based materials (first generation), those made of yttrium-based materials are called second-generation, high-temperature superconducting wires. Compared with the first-generation wires, the second-generation wires have higher mechanical strength, better current characteristics in magnetic fields, and lower AC losses. They also lower costs, being the mainstream of the current superconducting wire research. In addition, among second generation wires, yttrium-based superconducting wires for high magnetic fields are distinctive with their ability of carrying more current even in high magnetic fields. This is enabled by dispersing nanostructure tantalum oxides, which boast superior flux pinning(note 3) function, evenly in a uniform direction.
(note 2)2012 R&D 100
Starting in 1963, R&D Magazine, a US science and technology magazine, grants awards to innovative technologies newly introduced into the global market. In its 50th year, R&D 100 is an authoritative award known as the “Oscars of innovation.”
(note 3)Flux pinning
In a superconducting state, the movement of flux that has intruded becomes electrical resistance. A highly superconducting state can be maintained by placing a pin as a normal conductor in the superconducting material and having the pin arrest the flux that has intruded. This effect is called flux pinning.