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Superconductor is a material that at very low temperatures (close to absolute zero) has zero electrical resistance and allows electric current to flow without any energy loss.

The most well-known superconductor is mercury, which has zero resistance at a temperature of 4.2 K (-268.8 °C). However, due to the instability and toxicity of mercury, its practical use is limited.

In 1911, the first high-temperature superconductor was discovered by Heike Kamerlingh Onnes – it was a copper-zinc alloy that exhibited superconducting properties at a temperature of 4.2 K. Since then, other superconductors have been discovered that exhibit properties at higher temperatures, making them more suitable for practical applications.

The use of superconductors

The use of superconductors in practice is quite limited due to their complex production, high cost, and the need for very low temperatures.

One of the primary applications of superconductors is in the generation of electrical energy. For example, superconductors are used in magnetic resonance imaging and low-temperature experiments, which provide efficient transport of electric current without any energy loss. This allows for the storage of electrical energy in systems for longer periods, which is important in many applications.

Additionally, superconductors are used in electronics, including superconducting computers that operate at high speeds and require significantly less energy to function. They have also found applications in medicine, particularly in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is used to diagnose various illnesses.