Superconductivity

Synthesis, characterisation and fundamental physics of superconducting materials and devices. This research area includes work on superconducting electromagnets and has close links to research into entangled quantum systems and into cryogenics. This also includes theoretical and computational research.

We expect that the size of this research area will reduce as a proportion of the EPSRC portfolio by the end of the Delivery Plan. Researchers from the Superconductivity community have diversified their interests and many now work on research captured by other areas. For example, Condensed Matter - Electronic Structure includes research on correlated electron systems, which requires a similar range of expertise as Superconductivity research.

This diversification has seen a reduction in proposals for research related specifically to the Superconductivity research area and we expect to see a continuation of this trend as an increasing number of researchers investigate the uses of superconducting materials. We will monitor this trend and refresh it in the light of any significant developments. The last two years, for example, have seen substantial developments in the field of Superconductivity globally and we will continue to keep the latest developments under review and assess how they should shape our approach going forward. 

Over the course of this Delivery Plan:

  • We will continue to support researchers working on the fundamental physics of superconducting materials, on new materials opportunities opened up by the recent increases in Tc and on problems such as the origins of high-temperature Superconductivity
  • We will encourage links with those looking to utilise superconducting materials
  • We will encourage members of the community working on superconducting quantum devices to be responsive to changes in the global quantum technology landscape. This will maximise opportunities for impact from the use of superconducting devices in new quantum technologies.
Highlights:

Researchers in this area have strong links to those in areas such as Condensed Matter - Electronic Structure, Condensed Matter - Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, and Spintronics. There are also links with Electrical Motors and Drives/Electromagnetics, while an increase in interest in Superconductivity in 2D materials means there are growing links with the Graphene and Carbon Nanotechnology research area (Evidence source 1,2).

This community has made good use of large-scale facilities such as Diamond Light Source, the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source and high magnetic field facilities to deliver important work on Superconductivity materials (especially iron pnictides and cuprates) (Evidence source 3,4).

Researchers in this field are able to contribute to the potential future use of superconducting electric motors in the aerospace industry (Evidence source 5), as well as to improve superconducting magnets for incorporation in smaller, cheaper magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners (Evidence source 6). This research area is also well-placed to contribute to the quantum technologies community through the development of superconducting qubits (Evidence source 7).

The current community structure provides an appropriate balance of training and development opportunities across career stages, as well as providing skills for delivering high-quality research.

This research area relates to all four of the Prosperity Outcomes, particularly to the following Ambitions within Productive, Connected, Resilient and Healthy Nation:

P1: Introduce the next generation of innovative and disruptive technologies

This area can contribute to the development of superconducting components in electric motors and to the development of new quantum technologies.

C1: Enable a competitive, data-driven economy

This area can contribute to development of new quantum technology-based methods for data processing.

R1: Achieve energy security and efficiency

Superconducting magnets can contribute to wind turbines and other energy-generating devices, as well as provide highly efficient transfer of electricity. (Evidence source 8)

H4: Develop future therapeutic technologies

Superconducting magnets play a vital role in MRI scanners. New superconducting materials could lead to smaller, cheaper scanners.

Research area connections

This diagram shows the top 10 connections between Research Areas within the EPSRC research portfolio. The depth of the segment relates to value of grants and the width of the segment relates to the number of grants shared by those two Research Areas. Please click to see the related Research Area rationale.

Reduce

We aim to reduce this area as a proportion of the EPSRC portfolio.

Visualising our Portfolio (VoP)
Visualising our portfolio (VoP) is a tool for users to visually interact with the EPSRC portfolio and data relationships.

EPSRC Support by Research Area in Superconductivity (GoW)
Search EPSRC's research and training grants.

Contact Details

In the following table, contact information relevant to the page. The first column is for visual reference only. Data is in the right column.

Name: David Bowkett
Job title: Portfolio Manager
Organisation: EPSRC
Telephone: 01793 444582