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Superconductivity is the ability of certain materials to conduct electrical current with no resistance and extremely low losses. High temperature superconductors, such as La2-xSrxCuOx (Tc=40K) and YBa2Cu3O7-x (Tc=90K), were discovered in 1987 and have been actively studied since. In spite of an intense, world-wide, research effort during this time, a complete understanding of the copper oxide (cuprate) materials is still lacking. Many fundamental questions are unanswered, particularly the mechanism by which high-Tc superconductivity occurs. More broadly, the cuprates are in a class of solids with strong electron-electron interactions. An understanding of such “strongly correlated” solids is perhaps the major unsolved problem of condensed matter physics with over ten thousand researchers working on this topic.
High-Tc superconductors also have significant potential for applications in technologies ranging from electric power generation and transmission to digital electronics. This ability to carry large amounts of current can be applied to electric power devices such as motors and generators, and to electricity transmission in power lines. For example, superconductors can carry as much as 100 times the amount of electricity of ordinary copper or aluminum wires of the same size. Many universities, research institutes and companies are working to develop high-Tc superconductivity applications and considerable progress has been made. This new volume brings together new leading-edge research in the field.