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Proceedings Paper

Aerospace Applications Of High Temperature Superconductivity
Author(s): W. W. Anderson
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Paper Abstract

The existence of superconductors with TcOOK (which implies device operating temper-atures the order of Top ≈45K) opens up a variety of potential applications within the aerospace/defense industry. This is partly due to the existence of well developed cooler technologies to reach this temperature regime and partly due to the present operation of some specialized components at cryogenic temperatures. In particular, LWIR focal planes may operate at 10K with some of the signal processing electronics at an intermediate temperature of 40K. Addition of high Tc superconducting components in the latter system may be "free" in the sense of additional system complexity required. The established techniques for cooling in the 20K to 50K temperature regime are either open cycle, expendable material (stored gas with Joule-Thomson expansion, liquid cryogen or solid cryogen) or mechanical refrigerators (Stirling cycle, Brayton cycle or closed cycle Joule-Thomson). The high Tc materials may also contribute to the development of coolers through magnetically levitated bearings or providing the field for a stage of magnetic refrigeration. The discovery of materials with Tc, 90K has generated a veritable shopping list of applications. The superconductor properties which are of interest for applications are (1) zero resistance, (2) Meissner effect, (3) phase coherence and (4) existence of an energy gap. The zero resistance property is significant in the development of high field magnets requiring neglible power to maintain the field. In addition to the publicized applications to rail guns and electromagnetic launcher, we can think of space born magnets for charged particle shielding or whistler mode propagation through a plasma sheath. Conductor losses dominate attenuation and dispersion in microstrip transmission lines. While the surface impedance of a superconductor is non vanishing, significant improvements in signal transmission may be obtained. The Meissner effect may be utilized for some magnetic shielding applications but the penetration depth and high frequency effects will have to be considered. Phase coherence forms the basis for Josephson junction devices which, in turn are used for mixers, detectors and parametric amplifiers in the microwave/millimeter wave regime and for A/D converters, sampling and switching circuits and voltage standards in electronics. The energy gap has been the basis of optical and IR detection through modulation of the order parameter (or gap energy) by generation of quasi particles.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 May 1988
PDF: 1 pages
Proc. SPIE 0879, Sensing, Discrimination, and Signal Processing and Superconducting Materials and Intrumentation, (18 May 1988); doi: 10.1117/12.943998
Show Author Affiliations
W. W. Anderson, Lockheed Palo Alto Research Laboratories (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0879:
Sensing, Discrimination, and Signal Processing and Superconducting Materials and Intrumentation
James A. Ionson; Roy Nichols, Editor(s)

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