New Hampshire, USA
For years I was intrigued by reports of anomalous experimental results from superconductors, even if, in some cases, they were made by controversial figures. Beginning in the 90s a Russian materials scientist, Evgeny Podkletnov, reported small acceleration signals (.05 g) from rotating superconductors. Later he claimed 1000 g impulses, of 1/10,000th of a second (100 micro-seconds), when his superconductor was subjected to 2 million volt discharges and strong magnetic fields. The .05 g acceleration claim, while seemingly modest, is in reality many magnitudes larger than allowed by known physics, and thus like the faster-than-light neutrinos in the OPERA experiment quite suspect (the OPERA problem was traced to a loose fiber optic connector).
Despite the seemingly impossible claims of Podkletnov, there were reports of similar results from an established research facility in Austria - the Austrian Research Center (ARC), who claimed .03 g acceleration signals from a mechanically spun-up superconductor. This result was curiously comparable to Podkletnov's earlier claim. The strange thing is that if one calculates the magnitude of acceleration induced on an isolated proton, within the superconductor's lattice, in the ARC experiment, and Podkletnov's later (1000 g claim) experiment, the ratio of applied acceleration versus output 'signal' is almost identical. This linearity is interesting since it spans eight orders of magnitude between the two experiments.
This curious coincidence prompted me to consider conducting similar experiments to check these claims, despite their obvious conflict with known physics. I was aware that a few people reported 'positive' results, but major labs, such as NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, found no evidence for such a phenomena. So I looked at what NASA actually did, using their super sensitive, micro-g gravitometer and superconductor, and noticed that they did not electrically, or mechanically, accelerate the superconductor condensate. Instead, they performed a static measurement of extreme precision. This made me wonder if acceleration of the condensate is the source of perhaps a 'real' signal. Perusing through the literature it seemed that no one was investigating this angle.
So I've been zapping 1 inch diameter YBCO superconductors with up to 1000 volts and 2000 amperes, and have observed brief acceleration pulses of about .01 g (10 milli-g's). I'm not truely confident these are genuine signals; although in some of the dozens of experiments I was on the verge of concluding that new physics was showing up. More experiments, with tighter controls, need to be performed to be sure I'm not picking up electromagnetic pulses or acoustic impulses, falsely triggering the accelerometer. I should add that in a few of the experiments the signal disappeared when the superconductor fell below the critical temperature, and reappeared when more liquid nitrogen brought the superconductor back into the superconducting state. But considering the various sources of false triggers, even that is no guarantee of radical new physics going on.
My experimental set-up is illustrated In the Avatar above. During the test the cryostat (on the left), along with the accelerometer module (metal box) are placed on the concrete floor a short distance apart. The portable (lantern cell powered) high voltage source (rear) is placed 8 or 10 feet away on the floor also. An oscilloscope (not shown) monitors the accelerometer's output via shielded coax cable. The cryostat shown is one of about half a dozen designs. All of these items are homemade, and I was fortunate to have access to machine shops to fabricate some of the parts on a Bridgeport mill, and other machine tools. The high voltage generator was originally operated through a cable attached to a hand held metal box. I replaced this with a radio remote system due to the lethal hazard posed by voltages in the 1000 volt range accidentally reaching the control box.
In other experiments, conducted in 2011 about 1.2 megawatts (600 Volts, 2000 Amps.) was discharged through a 12 gauge coil surrounding the superconductor to induce sudden supercurrents. This yielded acceleration signals of approximately 10 milli-g's (.01 g's) observed on my Tektronix 465B oscilloscope. The sensor used was an ADXL203 accelerometer chip with 1 milli-g resolution.
Future plans are to conduct essentially the same experiments with niobium metal - a Type II superconductor. Since niobium's critical temperature is 9.3 Kelvin, liquid helium will need to be used instead of the much cheaper, and easier to use liquid nitrogen. The advantage of using niobium over YBCO is that it is available in most basic shapes, but most importantly with flat surfaces. Virtually every YBCO disc I purchased was badly warped and impossible to obtain uniform contact over its surface with a flat electrode. Additionally, the cooper-pair density in niobium is 10 times that of the high temperature ceramic YBCO superconductor. The anomalous acceleration signals are probably directly proportional to the superconducting current. This may explain why the ARC team was able to detect a signal despite applying a modest 7.46 g's acceleration to their superconducting niobium ring.
Update: December 10, 2014
Have recently purchased a surplus niobium-titanium superconductor rod, measuring 6 and 1/2 inches in length by 1/4 inch in diameter. I cut off a 2 inch section of it, and contracted with a local machine shop to have the ends drilled and tapped to accept 6-32 screws. This will enable me to secure electrodes to each end for passing high voltage discharges through the rod. Am currently building the frame for holding this niobium-titanium superconductor rod inside the cryostat. Since its critical temperature is 14.5 Kelvin, I will need to contact a lab that uses liquid helium to run the experiment.
Earlier this year (2014) I introduced timing delays in the high voltage discharge, such that I can isolate the acoustic 'pop', that was the bane of earlier experiments. This allows me to completely rule out the acoustic pressure wave from the sudden expansion of the cryo-fluid, as 1.2 megawatts is discharged through the coil surrounding the superconductor. It should work equally well when I discharge the current directly through the niobium-titanium superconductor.
Update: February 25, 2016
I've been busy over the last few days machining components for an X-Y positioning system that will fine adjust the location of the tiny ADXL203 accelerometer chip 'target'. The logic behind this is an attempt to replicate Evgeny Podkletnov's "Impulse Gravity Generator", which reportedly produced a highly collimated acceleration 'beam' of 1000 g's as mentioned above, with 100 microsecond duration. My experimental scale is far smaller than Podkletnov's, entailing a niobium-titanium superconducting rod of 1/4 inch diameter, and 2 inches length. It will be directly subjected to 600 volts/2000 amp discharges from a capacitor bank versus 2 million volt discharges as utilized by Podkletnov. I've recently purchased a digital oscilloscope, so that single sweep traces during experimental runs can be stored for later detailed analysis.
Initial tests will be conducted with liquid nitrogen, with no expectation of any results, as the critical temperature of Nb-Ti alloy is about 14 Kelvin versus 77 Kelvin for LN2. But I'm just kind of curious as I have easy access to LN2, and could conduct the experiment in my home prior to hauling the experimental setup off to a lab where liquid helium is utilized. I have not yet contacted a lab, but am within driving distance of major universities, that might accommodate me on such an experiment. Of course it would have to be under their supervision, as liquid helium is very difficult to work with, and I have no experience working with it.