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Research project title

Improved robustness of commercial superconducting tapes for use in very high current cables (kA) and high field electromagnets

Education level

Master or doctorate


Director: Frédéric Sirois

Co-director(s): Christian Lacroix

End of display

December 31, 2024

Areas of expertise


Experimental methods and instrumentation

Unit(s) and department(s)

Department of Electrical Engineering

Laboratory of Superconductivity and Magnetism (LSM)

Department of engineering physics


The project is intended primarily for students who have completed a bachelor's or a master's degree in engineering physics, physics or materials sciences, and who are interested in contributing to advance the knowledge and technology of superconducting materials. Knowledge of French is highly desirable for a master's project, but less essential for the Ph.D. The project will be conducted exclusively in the laboratories of Polytechnique Montréal, but an internship in a foreign University is to be considered.

Detailed description

Context and objectives:

Our research team aims at characterizing second-generation superconducting tapes under extreme operating conditions to better understand the physical mechanisms that limits the transition between the superconducting and the normal states. This understanding is then used to optimize the architecture of superconducting tapes in order to make them more robust in the context of different applications such as fault current limiters for electrical networks, electric motors, and high-field electromagnets.

Within the framework of this Master’s or Ph.D. project, the student will have to:

  • Modify superconducting tapes in order to improve their properties and robustness
  • Perform experimental measurements on superconducting tapes placed in a cryogenic environment (between 20 and 100 K) and subjected to strong currents (more than 1 kA) and magnetic fields (up to 5 T)
  • Develop numerical models to analyze the experimental results
  • Analyze experimental results in order to understand the underlying physical mechanisms, in order to further improve our numerical models and propose solutions to improve the quality and performance of these tapes
  • Improve and test current experimental setups (PCB design, sample holder design, LabVIEW programming, soldering, printing of 3-D parts, etc.)

Infrastructure and past achievements:

In order to improve our understanding, we use unique, custom-built experimental setups, as well as numerical simulation tools developed in Polytechnique Montreal. We are looking specifically at two regimes: the “clear limitation” case and the “hot spot” regime. The study of these two regimes requires the use of fast pulsed sources that we have developed in our laboratory. We have also developed sample holders for fine measurement of electrical properties. Finally, we designed cryostats to measure the electrical properties of superconductors at different temperatures under high currents. We also have the possibility to immerse the samples in an external magnetic field up to 5 Tesla.

In addition, we have patented a new concept called "Current Flow Diverter" that increases the robustness of superconducting tapes. We are currently working with industry partners to commercialize this technology. We also have several international collaborators with whom we work to develop the best superconducting tape architectures.

We have also developed numerical codes to simulate the electrothermal behavior of superconducting tapes at the microscopic scale under realistic operating conditions that can be encountered in power systems. These codes are particularly useful for assessing the risk associated with microscopic defects in superconducting tapes.

Please contact Professor Frédéric Sirois ( for more information about the above project. PLEASE PROVIDE a CV, your MARK TRANSCRIPTS, and a LETTER OF MOTIVATION which also briefly explains your background, otherwise your application will not be considered.

Admission procedure and forms

Financing possibility

A financial support of 19,500$/year at the Master's level or 23,000$/year at the Ph.D. level could be available, under certain conditons, to pursue the above-mentionned research. Exact conditions such as duration of scholarship must be discussed with the research. A funding supplement will be awarded in the advent of an excellence scholarship award from NSERC, FRQNT or from another source.