Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2023/24 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 2023/24

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


On successful completion of the module students will be able to:

1. Communicate complex scientific ideas concisely, accurately, and informatively, managing own learning and making use of appropriate texts, illustrations and figures, research articles and other primary sources.
2. Manage time and deliver work to deadlines.

Learning outcomes
Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge, understanding and application of:

1. Phenomenological properties and theories of superconductivity.
2. The principal features of superconducting tunnel junctions and contacts.
3. Superconductivity using appropriate mathematical tools.


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: 28/04/2023 14:55:13


Browse Other Catalogues

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

© Copyright Leeds 2019