NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a magnetic shielding design that features simplicity, ease of use, reproducibility, longevity, and scalability. It does not require activation, monitoring, or wiring. The invention uses the superconducting “proximity effect” and/or the “inverse proximity effect” to form a spatially varying order parameter. When designed to expel magnetic flux from a region of space, the proximity effect(s) are used in concert to make the superconducting order parameter strongly superconducting in the center and more weakly superconducting toward the perimeter. The shield is then passively cooled through the superconducting transition temperature.

The superconductivity first nucleates in the center of the shielding body and expels the field from that small central region by the Meissner effect. As the sample is further cooled, the region of superconducting order grows and as it grows, it sweeps the magnetic flux lines outward.

This innovation passively sweeps existing magnetic flux lines away from sensitive regions. It then acts as a protective shield against magnetic fields. This reduces/eliminates magnetic “cross talk” or magnetic contamination between different parts of a sensing system. The invention enables new sensing designs; for instance, it is now possible to use magnetic field generating components with magnetic field sensitive components, with larger magnetic field energies and in closer proximity than was previously possible.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. For more information, contact the Goddard Strategic Partnerships Office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 301-286-5810. Follow this link here  for more information.

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This article first appeared in the March, 2020 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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