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John O | April 2019

NC State student earns Lemelson-MIT prize for work with high-temperature superconductors

By Josh Perry, Editor


Federico Scurti, a doctoral candidate from North Carolina State University (Raleigh, N.C.), received a $15,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for his research into detecting and preventing failures in high-temperature superconductors (HTS).


Federico Scurti wins the prestigious Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for his work to detect and prevent high temperature superconductor failure. (NC State)


According to a report from the school, Scurti won the “Move It!” category, which features inventions that improve transportation and mobility.


He developed three inventions for preventing failure in HTS. The SMART Conductor is an optical fiber embedded within a superconducting wire to form a fully-monitored superconducting magnet. The fiber detects a change in temperature or strain in the wire and can be monitored in real-time. Scurti also developed a composite coating that improves the thermal sensitivity of optical fiber sensors at cryogenic temperatures.


The third invention was SMART Cables, which monitor and sense failures in high-current superconducting cables.


“His inventions, which are all patented, could lead to a new generation of environmentally friendly and high efficiency transportation systems,” the report added. “They are licensed to the startup company Lupine Materials and Technology, and the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and Department of Energy have all expressed interest in its technologies.”


The Lemelson-MIT Student Prize celebrates emerging college inventors that are making an impact on the global economy. According to its website, “Jerome H. Lemelson, one of U.S. history’s most prolific inventors, and his wife Dorothy founded the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. It is funded by The Lemelson Foundation and administered by MIT's School of Engineering.”


Winners are selected from a national pool of applicants with undergraduate winners receiving $10,000 and graduate students receiving $15,000.


Learn more about Scurti’s background and his selection for the award at https://lemelson.mit.edu/winners/federico-scurti.

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