Phenomenon that occurs in certain materials at low temperatures. It is characterized by the complete loss of electrical resistance and the complete expulsion of externally applied (weak) magnetic fields (the Meissner effect).


Any material that will conduct electricity without resistance.

superconductor, high-temperature (HTS):

Superconducting material that has a high critical temperature. There is no specific temperature separating HTS from LTS materials. HTS now normally also means a CuO2-based superconductor.

superconductor, low-temperature (LTS):

Superconducting materials whose Tc is below about 30 K, though many now call MgB2 a low-temperature superconductor even though its Tc can be as high as 40 K. See HTS.

synchrotron light source:

Charged particles traveling in circular trajectories emit electromagnetic radiation. This phenomenon results in a serious loss of ion energy from the circular accelerators used by the high-energy physics community, and some of the radiation emitted can be x rays. A synchrotron light source is an accelerator designed and operated for the electromagnetic radiation it produces rather than for beams of high-energy ions.


Scientific notation for the critical transition temperature (at zero applied magnetic field and current) below which a material begins to superconduct.


Unit of measure for magnetic field strength in the SI system of units, abbreviated as T. One tesla is equivalent to 10,000 gauss.

transition temperature:

See Tc.


Acronym for a well-known ceramic superconductor composed of yttrium, barium, copper, and oxygen.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement