Optimizing superconductor transport properties through large-scale simulation

Background and scope

Most energy applications of superconductivity, such as power transmission over superconducting cables, are based on achieving low energy dissipation in high-temperature superconductors.

Dissipation is minimized by restricting the mobility of the vortices carrying magnetic field in the superconducting material by pinning them with admixed inclusions. Understanding the interaction of vortices with general configurations of inclusions is a major, outstanding challenge both for fundamental science and energy applications. The task is complicated by the high density of the vortices, their mutual long-range interaction, and the dependence of their behavior on external parameters, such as temperature and the applied magnetic field. These features in general preclude an analytical description of vortex dynamics and, until recently, made numerical simulation prohibitively expensive.