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Applied Superconductivity (Josephson Effects, Superconducting Electronics and Superconducting Quantum Circuits)

Module PH2157

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of SS 2013

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
SS 2021SS 2020SS 2019SS 2018SS 2013

Basic Information

PH2157 is a semester module in English or German language at Master’s level which is offered in summer semester.

This module description is valid from WS 2012/3 to SS 2021.

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
300 h 110 h 10 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2157 in the version of SS 2013 was Rudolf Gross.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


Despite the fact that sometimes superconductivity is still considered exotic, superconductivity meanwhile has a   number of important applications. In this special course the most relevant present and future applications of superconductivity are discussed, starting from what is commonly referred to as the macroscopic quantum  model of superconductivity. The application of superconducting circuits for the realization of future quantum electronics has attracted strong interest, in particular regarding the implementation of quantum information processing systems. They are intensively studied in various collaborative research projects (e.g. SFB 631, cluster of excellence NIM). In this module we address the physics of superconducting quantum circuits and show how such circuits can be implemented based on superconducting thin films and nanostructures. We also discuss the application of superconducting quantum circuits in the study of fundamental light-matter interaction, the realization of solid state based quantum information processing systems and in quantum simulation.

Regarding the application of superconductivity in electronics and for sensors the course addresses the following topics:  

  • macroscopic quantum model of superconductivity
  • Josephson effects
  • Josephson junctions and Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices (SQUIDs)
  • Josephson voltage standard
  • superconducting digital electronics
  • superconducting particle detectors & microwave applications
  • solid-state based quantum information processing devices

Regarding the application of superconductivity in quantum electronics, the following specific topics will be addressed:

  • introduction to secondary quantumn effects
  • superconducting quantum circuits: from resonators to qubits
  • circuit Quantum electrodynamics: "Quantum octics on a chip"
  • quantum information processing with superconducting circuits
  • propagating quantum microwaves

Learning Outcome

By the participation in this module the students acquire profound knowledge on superconducting electronics, superconducting sensors, as well as on superconducting quantum electronics and quantum circuits. This allows them to understand, to analyze and to evaluate specific problems to the following aspects: 
1) macroscopic quantum model of superconductivity, 2) Josephson effects, 3) Josephson junctions and Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices (SQUIDs), 4) Josephson voltage standard, 5) superconducting digital electronics, 6) superconducting particle detectors & microwave applications, 7) secondary quantumn effects, 8) superconducting quantum circuits: from resonators to qubits, 9) circuit Quantum electrodynamics: "Quantum octics on a chip", 10) quantum information processing with superconducting circuits, 11) propagating quantum microwaves.


No prerequisites that are not already included in the prerequisites for the Master’s programmes.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Learning and Teaching Methods

Lecture, beamer presentation, blackboard work, exercises in groups, discussions.


Lecture Notes, exercise sheets, supplementary literature.


  • Lecture notes and handouts
  • R. Gross & A. Marx, Solid State Physics, Oldenbourg-Verlag (2012)
  • Tinkham: Introduction to Superconductivity
  • K. K. Likharev: Dynamics of Josephson Junctions and Circuits Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, New York (1986)
  • T. P. Orlando, K. A. Delin: Foundations of Applied Superconductivity, Addison-Wesley, New York (1991)
  • Fossheim, Sudbo: Superconductivity - Physics and Applications
  • Buckel, Kleiner: Supraleitung
  • de Gennes: Superconductivity of Metals and Alloys
  • Claude Cohen-Tannoudji: Quantum Mechanics, Volume I, Wiley-Interscience (2006)

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

In an oral exam the learning outcome is tested using comprehension questions and sample problems.

In accordance with §12 (8) APSO the exam can be done as a written test. In this case the time duration is 90 minutes.

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

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