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High-temperature superconducting tape licensed

The Lab technology allows superconducting materials to be deposited onto a flat-formed tape that serves as a wire that can be made into cables and coils. Those can be used in motors, generators, transformers, transmission lines, fault current controllers that prevent lightning strikes from burning out controllers and energy-storage devices that allow energy to be stored when demand is low and used when demand goes up.

The tape, one-tenth the thickness of a human hair, can carry more than 100 amperes per centimeter width, which is 100 times the amount of current, or electric power, that can be carried through an equivalent area of copper wire.

Lab scientists have demonstrated the high-temperature superconducting tape works in short lengths – up to one-meter long. IGC-SuperPower intends to manufacture kilometer-long HTS tapes with the same superconducting properties and make this technology commercially available.

The technology licensed to IGC- SuperPower is the second generation of HTS tape and has superior superconducting proper- ties – it will carry more current as compared to the first generation of HTS tape that is already commercially available.

High-temperature superconductor materials carry electrical currents without any resistance, or loss of energy, when cooled with liquid nitrogen. Since the discovery of these materials’ super- conducting properties in the late 1980s, researchers have sought ways to produce flexible wires or tapes from the normally brittle substances for use in electric motors, transformers and magneti- cally levitated trains. In 1995, a Los Alamos team developed a method of depositing a superconducting ceramic known as yttrium barium copper oxide, or YBCO, on inexpensive nickel-alloy tape by first applying a buffer layer of cubic zirconia. This layer of zirconia imposes the crystalline alignment necessary for the YBCO to maintain superconductivity.

Researchers deposit the zirconia layer using two ion beams in a process known as ion-beam-assisted deposition. The first beam removes material from a zirconia target and deposits it on the nickel tape. The second ion beam, aimed at the tape, orients the zirconia grains as they are deposited. A subsequent pulsed-laser deposition of YBCO film – a mere one millionth of a meter thick – on top of the aligned zirconia allows the YBCO grains to mimic the crystalline alignment of the zirconia buffer, which improves the tape's superconducting properties.



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