U.S. Particle Accelerator School

Superconducting Materials for High-Energy Physics course

Sponsoring University:

University of New Mexico


Superconducting Materials for High-Energy Physics


Lance Cooley, Fermilab

Purpose and Audience
This couse is intended to instruct senior undergraduate and graduate students, engineers, and technicians the science and technology of superconducting materials. The course is designed for those who plan, or are actively engaged in, a career working with particle accelerators, high-feld magnets, or SRF cavities. 

Undergraduate materials science, metallurgy, physical chemistry, or knowledge of materals engineering; undergraduate understanding of electricity and magnetism; some exposure to solid state physics.

The course seeks to provide understanding of the rationale for materials processing, quality assurance and control, testing, and specifications. The course also aims to provide a general understanding of the origins of performance limits. Upon completion of this course, the student is expected to be able to generate application ideas and carry out analyses of physical properties of superconducting materials.

Instructional Method
The course incorporates lectures during morning and parts of afternoon sessions, followed by interactive discussions and laboratory work during afternoon sessions. Discussions will address topics that relate to frontier applications and will be designed to bring out the relationships between different materials topics. Laboratory work will be modular and focus on characterizations done in a superconducting materials lab. Students will complete problem sets outside of class time and will submit laboratory reports.

Course Content
Lectures will begin with basic understanding of superconducting properties and their origins in the make-up of materials. Topics will focus on limits to fields and currents at low temperatures, since these are quantities that drive performance of accelerator magnets and linacs. The course will then overview the engineering materials available today and the key aspects of their fabrication into long-length conductors. This will include discussions of synthesis, metallurgy and forming, costs of conductors, and forefront areas of conductor research. Characterization techniques to assess superconducting properties will follow, integrating basic property understanding with real architectures of strands and cables. Special topics, including quenching and stability, strain effects, and SRF cavities will conclude the lecture content.

Afternoon sessions will be closely tied to morning lectures. Laboratory modules may include transport and magnetometer measurements, metallographic analyses, and microscopy. Group discussions will explore the materials feasibility of a forefront application such as a 20 tesla dipole magnet or a 50 tesla solenoid.

Reading Requirements
(to be provided by the USPAS) Handbook of Superconducting Materials, ed. David A Cardwell and David S Ginley, IOP Publishing Ltd. 2003. Other materials will be provided by the course instructor.

Credit Requirements
Students will be evaluated based on performance on problem sets (30% of final grade), laboratory sessions (30%), oral discussion challenges (10%), and a final exam (30%).