Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

PHYS5300M Superconductivity

15 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Dr Satoshi Sasaki

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Desirable background knowledge frequently used:
- Thermodynamics (free energies, phase equilibrium, etc.)
- Electrodynamics (Maxwell equations, vector identities, etc.)
- Magnetism (magnetic field, magnetic flux density, magnetization, diamagnetism, etc.)
- Quantum Mechanics (quantum field theory or second quantization, commutation relations of fermions and bosons, etc.)
- fundamental parts of solid state physics (Fermi energy, Fermi velocity, the density of states, cyclotron motion, etc.)
* Having taken a module(s) for the solid state physics (condensed matter physics) would greatly help.

This module is not approved as an Elective


At the end of this module you should be able to:
- describe and explain the properties of superconductors
- differentiate between Type I and Type II superconductivity
- explain and use the phenomenological and fundamental theories of superconductivity
- derive and use the expressions relating the principal parameters of the superconducting ground state
- describe and explain the principal features of superconducting tunnel junctions and contacts
- name and describe the principal families of superconducting materials.

Learning outcomes
Demonstrate an understanding of most fundamental laws and principles of physics, along with their application to a variety of areas in physics, some of which are at (or are informed by) the forefront of the discipline;
Solve advanced problems in physics using appropriate mathematical tools;
Use mathematical techniques and analysis to model physical behaviour and interpret mathematical descriptions of physical phenomena;
Communicate complex scientific ideas concisely, accurately and informatively;
Manage own learning and make use of appropriate texts, research articles and other primary sources.


The discovery of superconductivity and its classification as a new state of matter. Basic properties of superconductors - zero resistance, perfect diamagnetism, critical fields and critical currents. The Meissner effect.

The phenomenological London model, London penetration depth and Pippard coherence length. Demagnetisation factors.
Importance of surface energy in defining Type I and Type II behaviour. The mixed state and the intermediate state. Flux penetration in Type II superconductors, flux pinning and Bean's critical state model., and the importance of flux pinning in applications.

Introduction to Ginzburg-Landau theory and the macroscopic wave function. Flux quantisation. Formation and character of Cooper pairs and the origin of the positive attraction between electrons. A description of BCS theory. The superconducting gap and superconducting thermodynamics. The isotope effect. Excitations from the superconducting ground state and the BCS quasiparticle density of states.

Superconducting electronics, dc and ac Josephson effects, analogues between Josephson critical current dependence on magnetic field and optical diffraction. Applications of superconducting tunnel junctions and SQUID devices. Andreev reflection.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours123.00
Total Contact hours27.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

- Reading/examples/consolidation
- Examination scheduled for Semester 1 exam period
- Review article to be completed during Semester 2.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentResearch Review Article33.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)33.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 30 mins67.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)67.00

Students will have to complete an in-person exam at the end of the module. This will take place during the examinations period at the end of the semester and will be time bound. Students must submit a serious attempt at all assessments for this module, in order to pass the module overall.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:31:38


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019