by Jane Stoyle Welch
Published October 22, 2021
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded the University at Buffalo $886,700 to conduct fundamental research towards the development of superior high-temperature superconducting wires. Amit Goyal, a SUNY Distinguished Professor and SUNY Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, is the principal investigator on the project.
Temperature Superconductors (HTS) wires or coated conductors based on REBa2Cu3O7-δ (REBCO) have the potential to revolutionize the electric grid of the 21st century. Applications include energy generation, such as enabling commercial nuclear fusion, off-shore wind generators, and superconducting magnetic energy storage systems; energy transmission such as loss-less transmission of power in high current DC and AC transmission lines; energy efficiency in the form of highly-efficient superconducting transformers, motors, fault-current limiters; high-field magnets including MRI, NMR, and numerous physics applications; and in numerous defense applications such as in electric ships and airplanes.
“These large-scale applications require HTS wires that can carry millions of amps of current per unit area, are flexible and can be fabricated at a price/performance metric similar to that of Cu-wire available in the hardware store,” says Goyal.
Although such coated conductor, superconducting wires can carry several orders of magnitude more power than copper wires of the same cross section, further performance improvements are necessary for the superconducting technology to become cost-competitive, especially in the presence of high-applied magnetic fields.
“This objective can be achieved by optimal placement of nano-sized defects and non-superconducting phases within the superconducting film’s matrix to pin the flux-lattice,” says Goyal.
Goyal’s past research has demonstrated that strain-driven, self-assembled columnar defects can address this need and result in vortex-pinning at both high and low operating temperatures in high-applied magnetic fields.
“This ONR funded project seeks to further improve upon the performance of these wires by probing how further nanoscale defect-engineering can improve attainable flux-pinning or vortex-pinning to improve performance in high-applied magnetic fields,” says Goyal.
In addition to Goyal, the research team includes a postdoctoral fellow who will join Goyal’s group in a few months and Eun Ju Moon, Research Assistant Professor in the Laboratory for Heteroepitaxial Growth of Functional Materials and Devices and the RENEW Institute.
Goyal’s research has had a significant impact on the field of high-temperature superconductivity, both in fundamental materials science and in the transition of scientific discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his contributions to the field of high-temperature superconductivity.
Earlier this year, Goyal was featured in an in-depth interview in Superconductor Week, where he discussed three major technologies he developed, the rolling assisted biaxially textured substrate (RABiTS) technology, the LMOe-enabled, IBAD-MgO process, and strain-driven, self-assembly of nanocolumnar defects, which are being commercialized world-wide to fabricate mile-long, single-crystal-like, high-performance HTS wires.
Goyal is an elected fellow of ten, diverse, professional societies for his research contributions and innovations in the field of materials science: the National Academy of Inventers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Materials Research Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Physical Society, the American Society of Metals, the American Ceramic Society, the Institute of Physics, the World Innovation Foundation, and the World Technology Network.
Goyal has authored or co-authored more than 360 technical publications, including 45 invited book chapters and papers, and has co-edited six books. He has given more than 25 plenary and keynote talks and more than 180 invited presentations at national and international conferences. He has 88 issued patents comprising 70 U.S. and 18 international patents, and more than 20 patents pending. He was the most cited author worldwide in the field of high-temperature superconductivity from 1999-2009.
He has received numerous national and international accolades, including the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award in the inaugural category of Energy Science and Innovation. The energy secretary bestows the award on behalf of the president of the United States. He was named the R&D Magazine’s Innovator of the Year in 2010 and received the 2012 World Technology Award in the category of “Materials.”
Goyal was the Founding Director of UB’s RENEW Institute from January 2015 to July 2021. He received the University at Buffalo’s President’s Medal in recognition of extraordinary service to the university in 2019.
Goyal is a member of the National Materials and Manufacturing Board (NMMB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. He was recently appointed to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) ad hoc Committee on “Advising NSF on its Efforts to Achieve the Nation’s Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative.” He is also a member of the National Academies Panel for reviewing the NIST Materials Measurement Laboratory and the National Academies Panel for reviewing the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in the area of materials science. He serves on the Fellows Advisory Committee of the National Academy of Inventors, the Scientific Advisory Board of the Center for Nanomaterials at Argonne National Laboratory, the Board of Governors for the New York Sea Grant and is a member of the National Academies Intelligence Science and Technology Experts Group.