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CHAPTER-I

SUPERCONDUCTIVITY

STRUCTURE:

5.1.1) INTRODUCTION
OBJECTIVES
5.1.2) SUPER CONDUCTING TRANSITION TEMPERATURE
5.1.3) GENERAL FEATURES OF SUPERCONDUCTORS
5.1.4) GENERAL FEATURES OF SUPERCONDUCTORS
A) PERSISTENT CURRENT
B) ISOTOPIC EFFECT
C) EFFECT OF MAGNETIC FIELD
D) CRITICAL CURRENTS
E) A-C RESTIVITY
F) ENTROPY
G) THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY
H) MECHANICAL EFFECTS
1.5.5) MEISSNER EFFECT
1.5.6) TYPE OF SUPERCONDUCTORS
A) TYPE-I SUPERCONDUCTORS
B) TYPE-II SUPERCONDUCTORS
1.5.7) APPLICATION OF SUPERCONDUCTOR
SUPERCONDUCTING MAGNETS
1.5.9) SUMMARY
5.1.1) INTRODUCTION:
From electron theory of metals we know that by decreasing the temperature of a perfect
metal, the thermal vibrations and electron scattering of ions decreases and the electrical
resistance of the substances decreases and the electrical resistance of substance may
becomes zero as its temperature reaches 'O'. Based on this point experiments were
conducted on many substances by scientists.
This phenomena first found by kammerling Onnes in 1911.i.e, electrical resistance
of pure mercury vanishes suddenly at 4.2k as shown in fig (1).This temperature is called its
superconducting transition temperature, the material posses normal resistance and is said to
be in the normal state .Below this temperature the resistance of the material becomes zero
and its conductivity reaches infinity .This state of the material is called the superconducting
state.

OBJECTIVES:

After going through this chapter you would be able to: know
 About the electrical resistance.

 How electrical resistance can be made zero.

 Why conductors are having +ve temp coefficient of resistance.

 Why semi conductors has –ve temp coefficient of resistance.

 Why good conductors like copper acts as bad super conductors at low
Temperature.

 Why insulators like ceramic materials acts as good super conductors

 At low temperature.

 What is the significance of paradox in super conductivity?

 What is the present status of this fascinating field of super conductivity?

ELECTRICAL RESISTANCE:

We know that matter exists in three different states i.e., solids,liquids and gases.In
solids again we have conductors semi conductors and insulators.In conductors ,we
know that valance band and conduction band overlaps to each other as a result
electrons can move freely from valance band to conduction band.Electron s existing in
conduction band are called conduction electrons or free electrons .such conduction
electrons are responsible to carry current when subjected for a potential difference
.When free electrons moving in presence of a potential difference applied for a
conductors . They frequent collisions with lattice thermal vibrations. Such lattice
thermal vibrations exists in materials also called with a fancy name phonons. Therefore
electron lattice thermal vibrations interactions can also called as electron phonon
interaction. Such electron- phonon interactions are responsible for the opposing force
faced by free electrons we know that an opposing force faced by electrons is called
electrical resistance.

What are lattice thermal vibrations .How they existing in conductors?

For conductors as a we increase the temperature amplitudes of phonons will


increase and hence electron- phonon interaction will increase. Such increase in
electron-phonon interaction increases resistance in conductors. For this reason
conductors are said to having positive temperature coefficient of resistance. The
behavior of semiconductors is completely opposite to that of conductors .i.e.
semiconductors are having negative temperature coefficient of resistance. The
resistance of semiconductors will decrease with increase in temperature.

For conductors as we increase the temperature amplitudes of phonons will


increase and hence electron-phonon interaction will increase. Such increase in
electron-phonon interaction increases resistance in conductors. For this reason
conductors are said to having positive temperature coefficient of resistance.

The behavior of semiconductors is completely opposite to that of conductors.

i.e. semiconductors are having negative temperature of coefficient ,the resistance of


semiconductors will decrease with increase in temperature.

For conductors as we increase in temperature the resistance will increase, the


converse effect is also observed. i.e for conductors the resistance will decrease with
decrease in temperature. This phenomenon was practically verified by a Dutch
physicist Kammerlingis Onnes when he is working in his laborite ties . he found that
resistance of mercury decreasing with temperature and falls to zero at 4.2k with in a
temperature range of 0.05c.Below 4.2k resistance is zero and above 4.2k material
will regain resistance again.

According to ohm’s law V=iR

If R=0  i 

Such material in which R=0

According to ohms law current tends to ‘ ’ Theoretically


And practically said to be very high.
In such situations the current flowing through conductors are said to be super and the
conductors are called super conductors.

5.1.2) SUPER CONDUCTING TRANSITION TEMPERATURE:

It is defined as the temperature at which the material changes from normal state to
superconducting state it is cooled .The total disappearance of electrical resistance of the few
substances is called superconductivity and the materials which exhibits this property are
called superconductors. The electrical resistivity of materials due to temperature impurities
and crystal defects.

Fig:

5.1.3) GENERAL FEATURES OF SUPERCONDUCTORS:

The theory of superconductors has been developed by Bardeen Cooper and


Schrieffer (BCS) theory in1957.They showed that superconductivity occurs when a special
state of affairs exists between the conduction electrons.
Two electrons in free space will be mutually repelled by coulomb forces between but
in the solid state, the force between the two electrons will be modified by the interaction of
electrons with the crystal lattice ions.
In certain crystals lattice interaction is so great that simple repulsive forces becomes
modified into an attractive force finding certain electrons called cooper-pair. This type of
interaction can only at low temperatures.

5.1.4) SOME GENERAL FEATURES OF SUPERCONDUCTORS:

A) PERSISTENT CURRENT:

The electrical current in a superconductor in superconducting state remains for


very long time .This can be proved by placing a superconducting loop of a material in
magnetic field and lowering its temperature below its superconducting transition
temperature (Tc) and the magnetic field is removed .This causes D.C in the
superconductor loop and the current remains for a very long period without
attenuation.

• File and mills determine in time taken by a super current to reduce to 1/e of its
initial value is more than 1,00,000 years .This indicates that D.C current in a super
conducting is persistent (Persistent means continuing for a long period of time without
interruption ) .
• Normally superconductivity has been observed in metals having valance electrons
between 2to 8 and not 1.
• Transition metals having odd number of valance electrons are favorable to ex bit
superconductivity while metals having even number of valance electrons are in
favorable.
• Generally in electrical conductors are not good super conductors examples:
copper, gold, sodium cry staling iron
At the same time the good super conducting metals are known good conductors at
room temperature example: Zinc, led.

B) ISOTOPIC EFFECT:

Transition temperature of a superconducting substance varies with isotopic


mass for example the transition temperature of three isotopes of mercury in shown
below.
Isotopic mass Transition temperature (Tc in kelvin)
199 4.161
200 4.153
204 4.126
Maxwell found that transition temperatures are inversely proportion to square
root of atomic weights.
i.e, Tc α M- β or Tc *M β is equal to constant . β ≈+0.5

C) EFFECT OF MAGNETIC FIELD:

By applying sufficient strength of magnetic field to the superconductors, the


superconductivity of material can be destroy the minimum magnetic field strength
required to destroy superconductivity of substance below Tc is called critical magnetic
field Hc at that temperature. Hc varies with temperature it is shown in fig.
From the graph we concluded that critical magnetic field for different elements
will be different at different temperatures and Hc increases with decrease of
temperature below Tc.
At transition temperature no magnetic field is required to change the material from
superconducting state to normal state .Maximum magnetic field is required to destroy
superconductivity at zero kelvin the critical magnetic field at zero kelvin is Ho. The critical
magnetic field at any temperature t below Tc can be given as

Hc=Ho (1-(TTc)2)

D) CRITICAL CURRENTS:

Suppose a material carries electrical current in superconducting state, this


current produces magnetic field if this magnetic field greater than critical magnetic field
at that temperature T is less Than Tc then normal resistance will be included in the
material and it will be in the normal state hence it is not possible to pass large current
through a superconductor.
The maximum current passing through the superconductor is called critical current and
it is denoted with Ic according to silsbee's rule for superconducting wire,
Ic=2πrHc.

E) A-C RESISTIVITY:

In normal state the current carry by normal electrons .When the materials
changes normal state to super conducting state then few normal electrons are
converted into cooper-pairs which carry DC currents in superconducting state without
resistance but in AC fields the cooper pairs accelerated in forward and backward
direction and they log behind the field due to inertia.In A.C field the normal electrons
are also carried the A.C current and produce some resistance then superconductor
behaves as a normal material.

F) ENTROPY:

Entropy is the measure of disorder in material by reducing a temperature of


a material, it goes into superconducting state .Also thermal vibrations and entropy of
the material reduce the electrons are more ordered in superconducting state than the
normal state.
G) THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY:

It has been observed that the thermal conductivity in superconducting state less
than in normal state by applying a sufficient magnetic field to a material then material changes
from superconducting state to normal state below Tc. In normal state all free electrons
participate in thermal conductivity, hence the thermal conductivity is large; where as in super
conducting state the cooper-pair electrons will not participate in thermal c onductivity so
thermal conductivity is less. The thermal conductivity suddenly drops then the material
changes from normal state to super conducting state.

Fig

H) MECHANICAL EFFECTS:

Experimentally it is found that the super conducting transition temperature and


magnetic field changes slightly by applying mechanical stress on it small changes in
volume ,co-efficient of thermal expansion and sum other factors are changes when the
material changes from normal state to super conducting state.

5.1.4) MEISSNER EFFECT:

In 1993, Meissner and Ochsen Feld the repel of magnetic flux by a


superconductor below Tc. They reduced by the temperature of a long superconductor
in a magnetic field .They observed that the superconductor pushes the magnetic
force of lines out of the body some temperature below Tc is shown in figure.
A Superconductor in its superconducting state behaves like a perfect diamagnet:

Consider a specimen in the form of a sphere inserted in a magnetic field. If the


temperature of the specimen is more that its transition temperature and magnetic field
also more than its critical value then all the magnetic lines of forces will pass through
the specimen as shown in fig (a). When both magnetic field and temperatures are
reduced below the critical values of the specimen them we can see the magnetic lines
of forces pushed out by the specimen as shown in fig (b).

When the material is in normal state the magnetic lines of force of lines pass through it.
The magnetic induction (B) inside the material is given as
B=µ (H+M) =µ0 H (1+ Х)
Where µ0 is magnetic permeability of the material.
H is the intensity of applied magnetic field.
M is the magnetization of the material.
Х is Magnetic susceptibility. Х=MH=-1
When the temperature reaches below transition temperature (T<Tc) and it
repels the magnetic force of lines .So magnetic induction inside the material B=0
From the eq B=µ0(H+M)
0=µ0(H+M)
H+M=0
H=-M
Х=M/H=-1
So in superconducting state inside the material magnetize on takes place which
is equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to the applied field .the
superconductor is a perfect diamagnetic material (since =-1.0).The repulsion magnetic
force of lines from a super conductor when it is cooled below Tc in the presence of
magnetic field is called Meissner effect .

5.1.6) TYPE I AND TYPE II SUPERCONDUCTORS:

Based on critical magnetic field they are two types of superconductors


1) TYPE-I(Soft) superconductors :

2) TYPE-II(Hard ) superconductors :
A) TYPE-I(SOFT) SUPERCONDUCTORS :

When the magnetic field applied two normal metal and increase the magnetic
field the material magnetization takes place in opposite direction
The magnetization material opposes the external applied magnetic force of lines and
material converted into superconducting state and it can act as perfect diamagnetism
at below Hc.
In this case applied magnetic field reaches critical magnetic field Hc and above fields
the force of lines passing through the material and suddenly the material changes from
super conducting state to normal state it is shown in figure.

This effect was first observed by Silsbee in 1916.So this effect is also called Silsbee
effect.The critical magnetic field for type 1 super conductors is the order of 0.1 Tesla.
So high magnetic fields cannot produce type 1 super conductors .These are called soft
super conductors .Example aluminum, zinc, cladium.

B) TYPE II SUPERCONDUCTORS:

In the case of type to superconductors as we increase the applied field


intensity, in the material opposing magnetization takes place up to some applied field
Hc, called lower critical magnetic field. Up to this magnetic field the material completely
repels the magnetic force of lines.The material is completely diamagnetic material and
it is in superconducting state .If further increase of applied magnetic field slowly the
magnetic force of lines pass through the material and transition superconducting state
to normal state takes place gradually.The penetration of magnetic force of lines
through the material increases gradually from Hc1 to Hc2 .At Hc2 the magnetic forces of
lines completely penetrate through the material and material completely change into
normal state. The material in mixed state in between Hc1 and Hc2 .It is shown in figure.
Type-2 superconductivity discovered by schubnicov co workers in 1930.The
critical field Hc2 for type 2 superconductors’ order of 10 Tesla .Hc2 is called upper critical
field .Type II superconductors also called hard superconductors. Type 2 super
conductors are alloys or transition metals with high values of electrical resistivity.
Example Zr, Nb, 60%Nb and 40%Ti alloy.

5.1.7) APPLICATION OF SUPERCONDUCTIVITY:

1) SUPERCONDUCTING MAGNETS:
Super conducting magnets similar to electromagnets to obtained magnetic
field from electromagnets current should be maintain in the coil ,where as in the
superconducting coils ones current introduced in to coil will remain for very long time
and during this period magnetic field can be obtained ,provided the temperature of the
coil is maintain below its transition temperature the benefit of using superconducting
magnets instead of electromagnets is the cost of the power require to maintain
superconductors at low temperature will be thousand times less than the cost of power
required in case of electromagnets to produce same magnetic field. The size of the
superconductor is very small than the electromagnets. Super conducting magnets are
made of type II superconductors because type II superconductors strong and produce
high magnetic fields order of 10 to 20 Tesla.
Example: Niobium titanium (Nb Ti) it is used mostly because it can be easily drawn
into thin wires
2) It is a basis of new generation of energy-saving power systems .Super conducting
generators are smaller in size and weight and compare with conventional generators.
These generators consume very low energy and so we can save more energy.
3) The current in a superconducting ring will flow without any change its value, It can
be used as a memory are storage element in computers.
4) One can be left extremely fast and large scale computer with in a small volume
using superconducting elements. The power consumed by this computer is less than
half watt.
5) Superconducting cables can be used to transmit electric power over long distances
without resistive losses.
6) Because superconductors are diamagnetic, they can be used to shield out
unwanted magnetic flux, as in shaping the magnetic lens system of an electron
microscope .
7) When we apply a magnetic field whose value is greater than critical field of the
superconductors, the superconducting properties will disappear. This fact is used in
gating circuits or cryotrons.
8) Superconducting solenoids are used in magneto hydro dynamic power generation
to maintain plasma and in nuclear magnetic resonance imaging equipment which is a
whole body scan equipment.
9) Superconductors are used to amplifying very small direct current and voltages.
10) SQUID (Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices) :- Used for measuring
very small amounts of magnetic flux. It is also used to detect the presence of bacteria,
for searching of explosives and examining the materials for defects etc.

Fig: Sensing element of the SQUID


5.1.7) SUMMARY:

 Certain metals and alloys exhibit almost zero resistivity when they are cooled to
sufficiently low temperatures. This phenomenon is called superconductivity.

 The temperature at which the transition from normal state to superconducting state
takes place on cooling in the absence of magnetic field is called critical temperature or
transition temperature.

 Superconductivity disappears if a strong enough magnetic field is applied .in the


absence of any magnetic field, the material is in superconducting state. When the
strength of magnetic field applied reaches a critical value the superconductivity
disappears.

 When a weak magnetic field is applied to a superconducting specimen at a


temperature below transition temperature the magnetic lines are expelled and the
specimen acts as an ideal dia magnet. This effect is called meissner effect.

 There are two types of super conductors. Type-I and Type-II

 In Type-I super conductors the super conducting state is destroyed at a critical


magnetic field and above.

 In type-II super conductors there are two critical magnetic fields. Below lower critical
field the specimen is in superconducting state, above upper critical field the specimen
is in normal state and in between these two critical fields it is in mixed state

 The super conductors are used in electrical generators, magnetic levitation, generation
of high magnetic fields. Fast electrical switching and in SQUIDS