# London equations in superconductivity

This article explores the London equations in superconductivity, including the Meissner effect and limitations of the equations.

# London Equations in Superconductivity

Superconductivity is a fascinating phenomenon that has intrigued scientists for over a century. It is a state in which certain materials exhibit zero electrical resistance when cooled below a critical temperature. One of the most important equations in the field of superconductivity is the London equation, which describes the behavior of a superconductor in an applied magnetic field.

## What are the London Equations?

The London equations were first proposed by brothers Fritz and Heinz London in 1935. They describe the electromagnetic properties of a superconductor in the presence of a magnetic field. The equations are based on two fundamental assumptions:

1. Electrons in a superconductor behave like a perfect fluid
2. There is a complete absence of electrical resistance in a superconductor

The first assumption means that electrons in a superconductor can move without encountering any resistance, while the second assumption implies that the electrons do not lose any energy due to collisions with other particles. These two assumptions allow the London equations to describe the behavior of a superconductor in the presence of a magnetic field.

The London equations are a set of two partial differential equations that relate the current density and the magnetic field within a superconductor. The first equation relates the current density to the magnetic field, while the second equation describes how the magnetic field changes over time in response to the current density. The equations can be written as:

Where J is the current density, B is the magnetic field, λ is the London penetration depth, and μ0 is the vacuum permeability.

## Applications of the London Equations

The London equations have many important applications in the field of superconductivity. One of the most significant is their use in understanding the behavior of superconducting materials in the presence of magnetic fields. Because superconductors exhibit zero resistance, they can be used to create extremely strong magnetic fields. These fields have many practical applications, such as in MRI machines used for medical imaging.

The London equations also play a crucial role in the development of superconducting materials. Understanding the behavior of superconductors in magnetic fields is essential for designing new materials that can be used in a variety of applications, including power transmission and energy storage.

Overall, the London equations are an essential tool for understanding the behavior of superconductors in magnetic fields. They have helped scientists make significant progress in the field of superconductivity and have led to many important practical applications.

## The Meissner Effect

An important consequence of the London equations is the Meissner effect, which was discovered by Walter Meissner and Robert Ochsenfeld in 1933. The Meissner effect describes the complete expulsion of a magnetic field from a superconductor when it is cooled below its critical temperature and placed in a magnetic field.

The London equations can be used to derive the Meissner effect. When a superconductor is placed in a magnetic field, the London equations predict that the electrons will move in such a way as to create a screening current that exactly cancels the applied magnetic field inside the superconductor. This causes the magnetic field to be expelled from the superconductor, resulting in the Meissner effect.

The Meissner effect has many important applications, including in the levitation of superconducting materials. Because the magnetic field is expelled from a superconductor, it is possible to use the Meissner effect to levitate a magnet above a superconductor. This has led to the development of high-speed trains that use superconducting materials to levitate above the tracks, reducing friction and increasing efficiency.

## Limitations of the London Equations

While the London equations are a powerful tool for understanding the behavior of superconductors in magnetic fields, they have some limitations. For example, the London equations only apply to type I superconductors, which have a single critical magnetic field. They do not apply to type II superconductors, which have two critical magnetic fields and exhibit a phenomenon known as flux pinning.

Additionally, the London equations assume that the superconductor is in a state of equilibrium and that the magnetic field is applied slowly enough that the superconductor has time to adjust to the new field. In reality, this is not always the case, and the behavior of superconductors in rapidly changing magnetic fields is still an active area of research.

## Conclusion

The London equations are an essential tool for understanding the behavior of superconductors in magnetic fields. They describe the electromagnetic properties of superconductors and have many important applications in fields such as power transmission, energy storage, and medical imaging. However, the London equations have some limitations and do not apply to all types of superconductors or to rapidly changing magnetic fields. Nonetheless, they remain a crucial part of the study of superconductivity and continue to be a focus of research in this field.