What is Superconductor : Types, Materials & Properties

There are two types of materials like metals as well as insulators. Metals allow the flow of electrons and carry electric charge with them like silver, copper, etc, whereas insulators hold electrons and they will not allow the flow of electrons like wood, rubber, etc. In the 20th century, new laboratory methods were developed by physicists to cool materials to zero temperature. He began investigating on some elements to know how the electricity will be changed in such conditions like lead & mercury, as they conduct electricity under a certain temperature without resistance. They have discovered the same behavior in several compounds like from ceramics to carbon nanotubes. This article discusses an overview of the superconductor.

What is Superconductor?

Definition: A material that can conduct electricity without resistance is known as a superconductor. In most of the cases, in some materials like compounds otherwise metallic elements offers some amount of resistance at room temperature, although they offer low resistance at a temperature is called its critical temperature.


The electrons flow from atom to atom is frequently done using certain materials once attaining the critical temperature, therefore the material can be called superconductive material. These are employed in numerous fields like magnetic resonance imaging & medical science. Most of the materials available in the market are not superconductive. So they must be in a very low energy state to turn into superconductive. Current research is focusing on compounds development to develop into superconductive at high temperatures.

Types of Superconductors

Superconductors are classified into two types namely type-I & type-II.



Type-I Superconductor

This kind of superconductor includes basic conductive parts and these are utilized in different fields from electrical cabling to microchips on the computer. These types of superconductors lose their superconductivity very simply when it is placed in the magnetic field at the critical magnetic field (Hc). After that, it will become like a conductor. These types of semiconductors are also named as soft superconductors due to the reason of loss of superconductivity. These superconductors obey the Meissner effect completely. The superconductor examples are Zinc and Aluminum.

Type-II Superconductor

This kind of superconductor will lose their superconductivity slowly but not simply as it is arranged within the exterior magnetic field. When we observe the graphical representation between magnetization vs. the magnetic field, when the second type semiconductor is placed within a magnetic field, then it will lose its superconductivity slowly.

This kind of semiconductors will start to lose their superconductivity on the less significant magnetic field & totally drop their superconductivity at the higher critical magnetic field. The condition between the slighter critical magnetic field & higher critical magnetic field is called an intermediate state otherwise vortex state.

This type of semiconductor is also named as hard superconductors due to the reason they lose their superconductivity slowly but not simply. These semiconductors will obey the effect of Meissner but not totally. The best examples of these are NbN and Babi3. These superconductors are applicable for strong field superconducting magnets.

Superconductivity Materials

We know that there are a lot of materials available where some of them will superconduct. Excluding mercury, the original superconductors are metals, semiconductors, etc. Every different material will turn into a superconductor at a little diverse temperature

The main problem by using most of these materials is that they will superconduct in a few degrees of complete zero. This means any benefit you achieve from the lack of resistance; you almost certainly lose from including cooling them down within the primary place.

The power plant that obtains electricity to your home in downward then superconducting wires will noise brilliantly. So it will conserve enormous amounts of exhausted energy. However, if you want to cool huge parts & all the transmission wires within the plant to complete zero, probably you will waste more energy.

Properties of Superconductor

The superconducting materials show some amazing properties which are essential for current technology. The research on these properties is still going on to recognize and utilize these properties in various fields which are listed below.

  • Infinite Conductivity/ Zero Electric Resistance
  • Meissner Effect
  • Transition Temperature/Critical Temperature
  • Josephson Currents
  • Critical Current
  • Persistent Currents

Infinite Conductivity/ Zero Electric Resistance

In the Superconducting condition, the superconducting material illustrates the zero electric resistance. When the material is cooled under its transition temperature, then its resistance will be reduced to zero suddenly. For instance, Mercury shows zero resistance under 4k.

Meissner Effect

When a superconductor is cooled under the critical temperature, then it doesn’t permit the magnetic field to go through in it. This occurrence in superconductors is known as the Meissner effect.

Transition Temperature

This temperature is also known as critical temperature. When the critical temperature of a superconducting material is changing the conducting state from normal to superconducting.

Josephson Current

If the two superconductors are divided with the help of thin-film in insulating material, then it forms a junction of low resistance to found the electrons with copper pair. It can tunnel from one surface of the junction to the other surface. So the current because of the flow of cooper pairs is known as Josephson Current.

Critical Current

When the current supplied through a conductor under the condition of superconducting, then a magnetic field can be developed. If the current flow increases beyond a certain rate then the magnetic field can be enhanced, which is equivalent to the critical value of the conductor at which this returns to its usual condition. The flow of current value is known as the critical current.

Persistent Currents

If a superconductor ring is arranged in a magnetic field above its critical temperature, at the present cool the superconductor ring under its critical temperature. If we eliminate this field, then the flow of current can be induced within the ring because of its self-inductance. From Lenz law, the induced current opposes the change within flux that flows through the ring. When the ring is placed in a superconducting condition, then the flow of current will be induced to continue the flow of current is named as the persistent current. This current generates a magnetic flux to make the flux flowing throughout the constant ring.

Difference between Semiconductor and Superconductor

The difference between semiconductor & superconductor is discussed below.



The resistivity of semiconductor is finite The resistivity of a superconductor is zero electrical resistivity
In this, electron repulsion leads to finite resistivity. In this, electron attraction leads to the loss of resistivity
Superconductors do not show perfect diamagnetism Superconductors show perfect diamagnetism
The energy gap of a superconductor is the order of a few eV.


The energy gap of superconductors is of the order of 10^-4 eV.
Flux quantization in superconductors is 2e units . The unit of a superconductor is e.

Applications of Super Conductor

The applications of superconductors include the following.

  • These are used in generators, particle accelerators, transportation, electric motors, computing, medical, power transmission, etc.
  • Superconductors mainly used for creating powerful electromagnets in MRI scanners. So these are used to divide. They can also be used to separate magnetic and non-magnetic materials
  • This conductor is used to transmit power for long distances
  • Used in memory or storage elements.


1). Why do superconductors have to be cold?

The energy exchange will make the material hotter. So by making the semiconductor cold, there is a smaller amount of energy is required to knock the electrons approximately.

2). Is gold a superconductor?

The best conductors at room temperature are gold, copper & silver do not turn into superconducting at all.

3). Is a room-temperature superconductor possible?

A superconductor at room-temperature is capable of showing superconductivity at temperatures around 77 degrees Fahrenheit

4). Why is there no resistance in superconductors?

In a superconductor, the electrical resistance unexpectedly drops to zero due to the vibrations & flaws of the atoms must cause resistance within the material while the electrons travel through it

5). Why is a superconductor a perfect Diamagnet?

When superconducting material is kept within a magnetic field, then it pushes out the magnetic flux from its body. When cooled under the critical temperature then it shows ideal diamagnetism.

Thus, this is all about an overview of the superconductor. A superconductor can conduct electricity otherwise transfer electrons from one atom to another without resistance. Here is a question for you, what are the examples of a superconductor?




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