Keywords: superconductivity, cryogenics, Oxford Instruments, Intermagnetics General, American Superconductor, GE, General Electric, Philips, Siemens, MRI, magnetic resonance imaging, electric power transmission
One hundred years of superconductivity: science, technology, products, profits and industry structure
Superconductivity was empirically discovered 100 years ago. While scientific efforts were rewarded by no fewer than seven Nobel Prizes, there has been only one major application: MRI. The unfulfilled potential of other electrical and electronic applications resulted in the acquisition of the MRI division of Oxford Instruments by Siemens in 2002 and of IGC by Philips in 2006. In this paper, we review the evolution of superconductivity during the past 100 years and conclude with a forecast of the industry's future. We offer policy recommendations for continuing research, development and engineering in this promising but, as of today, still unexploited field of applied science.