Introduction

Welcome to the fascinating new world of ceramic superconductors. Colorado Superconductor Inc.'s growing family of High Temperature Superconductor Kits emphasize both the underlying physics, and also the new applications of these versatile new materials. Furthermore, in an effort to keep abreast of the rapid advances in this field, we are pleased to provide several Comparison Kits that compare the properties of the leading high temperature superconductors available today.

These Kits are designed to introduce the new ceramic superconductors in a `cookbook' fashion. This experiment guide has detailed explanations to help you implement the various experiments and to understand their physical basis. The materials in these Kits can be also be used to design and perform several additional experiments.

Colorado Superconductor is continuously introducing new Kits to demonstrate newly discovered physical phenomena and also new materials. Applications for these materials are being pursued at a rapid pace.

Below is a list of the Experiment Kits manufactured by Colorado Superconductor Inc. If you are interested in these and other superconductor products, please write to us or call us at the location listed on our Company Profile page.

The Kits are quite complete in that one can investigate the basic phenomena of superconductivity with very little in addition to the Kit contents themselves. The only item that the investigator needs to provide is the liquid nitrogen. For the Critical Temperature Kits, a simple, inexpensive digital voltmeter is also needed. The Complete Exploration Kit , Super Exploration Kit, and Magnetic Susceptibility Kit contain superconducting probe devices which can be used for the experiments described in this guide, or extended far beyond that by the interested experimenter. These Kits will require several different items of measurement apparatus depending on the particular experiment being performed.

While the various items (other than the superconductors on account of their chemical constituents) provided with the Kits pose no special safety concerns, the experimenter will need to use liquid nitrogen which is not provided. Liquid nitrogen is widely used, but because it is extremely cold, it does possess the potential to cause harm to the user. Each kit, therefore, comes with an instruction manual outlining some guidelines for obtaining and safely handling liquid nitrogen.

Read this guide carefully, click Order Form to order a kit,, and then get ready for an adventure.

THE KITS AND THEIR PURPOSE

The Demonstration Kits and their primary intent is listed below. Please call or write us for additional information.

Levitation Kit (Kit K1): Demonstrates the Meissner Effect and the low friction magnetic bearing.

Critical Temperature Kit (Kit K2): Demonstrates the determination of Critical Temperature, Meissner Effect, and the low friction magnetic bearing.

Complete Exploration Kit (Kit K5): Supports seven experiments built around the electrical four point probe with its attached thermocouple. These include the measurement of Electrical Resistance as a function of Temperature, Critical Temperature, Critical Current, Critical Magnetic Field, Demonstration of the reverse ac Josephson Effect. Also included are the Meissner Effect and low friction magnetic bearing experiments. A CSI Sand Cryostat is recommended for use with this kit.

Suspension & Levitation Kit (Kit K6): Demonstrates the phenomena of Flux Pinning through the suspension of a superconductor disk below a rare earth magnet. This Kit also demonstrates the Meissner Effect and the low friction magnetic bearing.

Levitation Comparison Kit (Kit K11): Compares the Meissner effect between American-invented YBa2Cu3O7 and the Japanese Bi2Sr2Ca2Cu3O10.

Critical Temperature Comparison Kit (Kit K12): Compares the Critical Temperature and Meissner Effects between YBa2Cu3O7 and Bi2Sr2Ca2Cu3O10.

Super Exploration Kit (Kit K15): Compares physical properties of YBa2Cu3O7 and Bi2Sr2Ca2Cu3O10 using the four point probe. A CSI Sand Cryostat is recommended for use with this kit.

Grand Compendium Kit (Kit K17): This kit contains one of each of all elements of Kits K1 through K18. In one simple purchase, the investigator can study the Meissner Effect, Four Point Probe experiments, the Suspension Effect, and the Superconducting Energy Storage Device. Both YBa2Cu3O7 and Bi2Sr2Ca2Cu3O10 materials are included for the Meissner and Four Point Probe experiments for material property comparisons.

Superconducting Energy Storage Kit (Kit K18): This exciting Kit directly delves into one of the key application areas of the new superconductors. A toroidal superconductor is used to investigate the mechanics of electrical energy storage in superconductors. A disk superconductor is provided for comparison studies of the Meissner Effect.

Magnetic Susceptibility Kit (Kit K20): Developed in cooperation with a research team at Whittier College, this kit introduces a new way to measure critical temperature using a magnetic induction coil. A CSI Sand Cryostat is strongly recommended for better temperature control..

Laboratory Kits (Kits K3 and K4): Are similar to the Levitation Kit and the Critical Temperature Kit. They are designed to provide six experimental stations for the laboratory class.

While no such Kits have been listed, we will be pleased to supply Kits containing Bi2Sr2Ca2Cu3O10 devices alone.

LECTURE PLAN

The material in this guide is laid out to guide you step by step through the fundamentals of high temperature superconductors. The booklet traces the history, physics, chemistry, and preparation technology of the new materials. Special emphasis has been placed on the safety aspects of the experiments. It is expected that a teacher of physics would choose to prepare students for the use of the Kit by means of a classroom lecture in the fundamentals.

We would suggest that a classroom lecture begin with an exposition of the physical properties of superconductors, and how they differ from normal conductors. Any introductory text in solid state physics will be a good source of basic information on the physics of superconductivity. In addition, the American Physical Society publication, Physics Today, reports current investigations in this field.

The next step would be to trace the history of superconductivity. The history of the new superconductors is intricately entwined with their chemistry. The American Chemical Society publication, Chemical & Engineering News, is a good source of up to date information on ceramic superconductor chemistry.

At this point it would be appropriate to discuss the applications of superconductors, with an emphasis on how easy it is to attain the operating temperatures of the new superconductors. The last section of the Experiment Guide, "Where do we go from here?", tests these waters.

OVERHEAD PROJECTOR USE

An incontrovertible demonstration of superconductivity to a lecture class would go a long way towards obtaining their interest and curiosity. We have found that a simple overhead projector, and the materials in each Kit can be used to project a fascinating visual image of the fundamental Meissner Effect on a projection screen.

Place an overhead projector on its side in a way that it still illuminates a screen. Prepare a superconductor sample for the Meissner Effect. Use a shallow dish which is no deeper than the thickness of the superconductor disk. Place that sample with its levitated magnet in front of the glass plate (where one normally places the transparencies), so that its silhouette is projected onto the screen. The magnet should be less than an inch away from the glass plate for best results. Adjust the focus setting of the projector to accommodate the distance of the levitated magnet from the glass plate. The Meissner Effect sample will probably have to be placed on several books or blocks to bring it level with the center of the glass plate of the overhead projector. A more impressive result can be obtained by stacking several pellets.

The use of a TV camera or camcorder in conjunction with a large screen TV would of course be an even better demonstration of the aforementioned experiment.

Information Courtesy of CSI Superconductors