A 3D printed superconducting aluminium microwave cavity

D.L. Creedon, Maxim Goryachev, N. Kostylev, Tim Sercombe, Michael Tobar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 Author(s).3D printing of plastics, ceramics, and metals has existed for several decades and has revolutionized many areas of manufacturing and science. Printing of metals, in particular, has found a number of applications in fields as diverse as customized medical implants, jet engine bearings, and rapid prototyping in the automotive industry. Although many techniques are used for 3D printing metals, they commonly rely on computer controlled melting or sintering of a metal alloy powder using a laser or electron beam. The mechanical properties of parts produced in such a way have been well studied, but little attention has been paid to their electrical properties. Here we show that a microwave cavity (resonant frequencies 9.9 and 11.2 GHz) 3D printed using an Al-12Si alloy exhibits superconductivity when cooled below the critical temperature of aluminium (1.2 K), with a performance comparable with the common 6061 alloy of aluminium. Superconducting cavities find application in numerous areas of physics, from particle accelerators to cavity quantum electrodynamics experiments. The result is achieved even with a very large concentration of non-superconducting silicon in the alloy of 12.18%, compared with Al-6061, which has between 0.4% and 0.8%. Our results may pave the way for the possibility of 3D printing superconducting cavity configurations that are otherwise impossible to machine.
Original languageEnglish
Article number032601
Pages (from-to)032601-1 - 032601-4
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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