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Light hitting a superconductor?

  1. Jul 20, 2011 #1
    can x-rays go through a superconductor when it cooled down to its superconducting state.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2011 #2


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    Er.. if it does, then diagnostic techniques such as x-ray photoemission, x-ray diffraction, x-ray scattering, etc. will be useless for superconductors. You can do a search for yourself how many papers have been published in the study of superconductivity using such techniques.

    Here's a question you should ask yourself: if x-rays have a tough time passing through ordinary metals, why would it pass through something that is an even better conductor?

  4. Jul 20, 2011 #3
    ok that's a good point. ill do some research on it .
  5. Jul 20, 2011 #4
    Do superconductivity alters the X-ray transparency of a material?

    If i remember correctly, conducting materials are opaque to EM radiation because the EM field interacts with the free electrons, losing energy during this process, and so the field gets weaker (attenuated) as it enters the material. If it were thick enough, we can say (almost) no EM radiation passes through it. Also, the more conducting the material, more attenuated the EM radiation is. So, we would conclude that a superconductor, which has zero resistivity, would be a perfect shield for EM radiation.

    But if i remember correctly, this effect somehow stops working at very high frequencies (like X-rays or gamma rays), because the electrons are not "fast enough" to interact (and thus to absorb energy) from the EM radiation, and so it passes through the material as if were transparent.

    So, my question is, do this also happens with a superconductor? Is it as transparent to X-rays as it would be if it were not a superconductor?
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