Department of Physics and Engineering
West Virginia Wesleyan College
Projects on Superconductivity

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Superconductivity is a popular topic for student research at Wesleyan. When some metals are cooled by placing them in liquid helium, they attain zero resistance to electrical current. This phenomenon is called superconductivity.

In the 1980s, superconductivity was discovered in a class of ceramic materials. These materials do not need to be nearly as cold. Superconductivity is used in applications requiring high currents, such as magnetic resonance imaging equipment in hospitals. Superconductivity is a subject of much active research today.

The photo below shows the cold finger of our helium dilution refrigerator.The yttrium-barium-copper-oxide superconductor is the black cylinder with the four wires attached.

Duncan Oliver (2008), Dylan Drinkard (2007), and Chad Smith (2003) have worked on research projects involving superconductivity using our helium dilution refrigerator. They investigated metals such as niobium and ceramics containing the elements yttrium and bismuth.

Dylan Drinkard is soldering the wires onto the superconductor.

Duncan Oliver is measuring the current as the sample is cooled.