Market potential exists for superconductivity in medical, energy, transportation sectors

July 30, 2002

From new medical and communications devices to super-efficient power systems, the science of superconductivity has enormous potential in the marketplace, according to a report to be released in Houston on Aug. 8.

With the theme "Superconductors in the Marketplace," the 2002 Applied Superconductivity Conference (ASC2002), to be held Aug. 4 - 9 in Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center, will feature top scientists, engineers, and industrial leaders from 50 countries discussing the current status and future potential of the field. The event, hosted by the Texas Center for Superconductivity and Advanced Materials (TCSAM) at the University of Houston, is the largest conference in the world focusing on commercial applications of superconductivity.

"The use of superconductivity has made possible many important technologies, from medical devices to metrology, from sensors to accelerators. Many more are expected as the field advances," said Paul C. W. Chu, ASC2002 Chairman, President of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and T. L. L. Temple Chair of Science at the UH. Chu, a superconductivity pioneer, established the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH in 1987.

The event, expected to draw about 1,500 participants, includes an exhibition of industrial products and services related to superconductivity. UH scientists and engineers will present a number of technical papers, including information about a new clinical diagnostic device being tested in a Houston hospital that may help doctors detect heart disease and vulnerable plaque, said Alex Ignatiev, director of TCSAM.

A superconductor is a material that conducts electricity with virtually no loss of energy when it's cooled below a certain temperature. It can transport much higher electrical currents than normal conductors, such as copper. Other applications of superconductors include:

· Medicine - Ultra sensitive superconducting sensors can non-invasively detect minute magnetic signals from the human body, aiding in the early detection of disease and allowing for detailed diagnostic imaging.

· Transportation - Magnetic levitation, or maglev trains that "float" above strong superconducting magnets could travel at more than 300 miles per hour.

· Communications - Superconductors could improve capacity, coverage and quality of service for personal communications devices, such as hand held communicators to generate and read e-mail.

In March 2002, representatives of approximately 35 industrial organizations and research laboratories in Europe, Japan, and the United States met in New Mexico to consider the state of superconductivity applications and markets. Representatives from the U.S. delegation will release the report on the March meeting in a panel discussion and take audience questions Thursday, Aug. 8, at noon (CST) at the conference. A mult-box will be available.

WHAT: Report from the 10th International Superconductivity Industrial Summit (ISIS)
WHEN: Thursday, August 8, 2002, noon-1 p.m. (CST)
WHERE: Bush Ballroom B, 3rd floor, George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston
WHO: Representatives from the Council on Superconductivity for American Competitiveness (CSAC)
Virtual Pressroom -

For additional contact information: 713/605-1757 (pager)

University of Houston

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