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UT Knoxville physics professor Jim Thompson and research assistant professor Yuri L. Zuev have won R&D Magazine’s “R&D 100 Award” in the Electrical Equipment category for their work on “Superconducting Wires by Expitaxial Growth on SSIFFS (Structural, Single-Crystal, Faceted, Fibers).” Along with their colleagues, Thompson and Zuev created and tested a kind of superconducting wire that makes electricity transfer more efficient.

The team of researchers from UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory created a round, narrow, single-crystal superconducting wire that is the first of its kind. While previous designs could exist only as a single strand, this wire is flexible enough to be twisted into a bundle, making it more useful to conduct larger amounts of electricity over greater distances.

Thompson wants to use superconductivity to make the items we use every day more energy efficient. When electricity moves through traditional wires, a great deal of its energy is lost in transit. Superconducting materials can reduce or eliminate that loss. Other team members included Amit Goyal, Eliot Specht, Claudia Cantoni and Dominic Lee of ORNL and Sung Hun Wee of the UT Department of Materials Science and Engineering.