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- A heterogeneous material construction has been devised for sensing coils of superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetometers that are subject to a combination of requirements peculiar to some advanced applications, notably including low-field magnetic resonance imaging for medical diagnosis. The requirements in question are the following: The sensing coils must be large enough (in some cases having dimensions of as much as tens of centimeters) to afford adequate sensitivity; The sensing coils must be made electrically superconductive to eliminate Johnson noise (thermally induced noise proportional to electrical resistance); and Although the sensing coils must be cooled to below their superconducting- transition temperatures with sufficient cooling power to overcome moderate ambient radiative heat leakage, they must not be immersed in cryogenic liquid baths. For a given superconducting sensing coil, this combination of requirements can be satisfied by providing a sufficiently thermally conductive link between the coil and a cold source. However, the superconducting coil material is not suitable as such a link because electrically superconductive materials are typically poor thermal conductors. The heterogeneous material construction makes it possible to solve both the electrical- and thermal-conductivity problems. The basic idea is to construct the coil as a skeleton made of a highly thermally conductive material (typically, annealed copper), then coat the skeleton with an electrically superconductive alloy (typically, a lead-tin solder) [see figure]. In operation, the copper skeleton provides the required thermally conductive connection to the cold source, while the electrically superconductive coating material shields against Johnson noise that originates in the copper skeleton.
- Other Subject(s):
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20080048054.
NASA Tech Briefs, December 2008; 21-22.
- Copyright, Distribution as joint owner in the copyright.
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