NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has a need for current leads used in an adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator (ADR) for space applications. These leads must comply with stringent requirements such as a heat leak of approximately 100 μW or less while conducting up to 10 A of electric current, from more than 90 K down to 10 K. Additionally, a length constraint of < 300 mm length and < 50 mm diameter is to be maintained.
The need for these current leads was addressed by developing a superconducting hybrid lead. This hybrid lead comprises two different high-temperature superconducting (HTS) conductors bonded together at a thermally and electrically determined optimum point along the length of the current lead. By taking advantage of material properties of each conductor type, employing advanced fabrication techniques, and taking advantage of novel insulation materials, the company was able to develop and fabricate the lightweight, low heat-leak leads currently to NASA’s specs.
This work was done by Christopher M. Rey of the Tai-Yang Research Company for Goddard Space Flight Center. GSC-16045-1