Superconductivity of Quantum Materials


Superconductivity is a fascinating phenomenon in which the electrical resistance of a material drops to zero below a transition temperature Tc. Discovered over a hundred years ago in 1911 by the research group of Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, it has been a very active field of research ever since. Since the initial discovery of superconductivity in mercury (Hg), many more elemental superconductors have been discovered, as well as a large number of superconducting compounds. In fact, superconductivity is a much more common phenomenon than you may think.


In 1986 came the discovery of the so-called high temperature superconductors (the copper oxide or cuprate superconductors) pushing transition temperatures above 77 K (the boiling point of liquid nitrogen). Transition temperatures have been steadily rising ever since and in the mid 2000’s the more general research field of quantum materials emerged. The research aims are to push the boundaries of our understanding of the exciting exotic physics these materials show; with applications ranging from the development of quantum computers to ultra-sensitive measurement devices. 

Work through the activities below and then check your solutions against the answer sheet.

Resource activities

Superconductivity and Quantum Materials

Learn about what superconductivity is.


The Meissner Effect and BCS Theory

Learn more about the Meissner Effect and the BCS Theory


High Temperature Superconductors and Quantum Materials Research

Learn more about some of the research in superconductivity and quantum materials.



Solutions to the questions in the previous activities.


Reflective questions

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Task 1

What are the key arguments, concepts, points contained within it?

Task 2

What are you struggling to understand?

What could you do to improve your understanding of these concepts/terminology etc.?

Task 3

What further questions has this resource raised for you?

What else are you keen to discover about this topic and how could you go about learning more?

Can you make any links between this topic and your prior knowledge or school studies?

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