Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have found a way to make high-temperature superconducting power cables that can carry as much current as existing superconducting cables while being a tenth of the diameter. The thin, flexible cables could open up new applications in electrical power transmission and could lead to powerful new magnets.
The cables could provide a lightweight, compact replacement for copper power cables, says NIST researcher Danko van der Laan, who led the work. Superconducting magnets made with the cables would generate much higher magnetic fields than are possible today. Such high fields would be useful for high-energy physics and proton cancer treatment.