MIT Academics Market Discovery

BOSTON—Two MIT professors without business experience hope to turn a unique manufacturing process into a commercial success in the burgeoning field of high-temperature superconductivity. Gregory J. Yurek and John Vandersande, both of MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, decided to launch the American Superconductor Corp. last spring after developing a proprietary process for fabricating superconductors through oxidation of metallic components. The program is sai

Dennis Livingston
Sep 6, 1987

BOSTON—Two MIT professors without business experience hope to turn a unique manufacturing process into a commercial success in the burgeoning field of high-temperature superconductivity.

Gregory J. Yurek and John Vandersande, both of MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, decided to launch the American Superconductor Corp. last spring after developing a proprietary process for fabricating superconductors through oxidation of metallic components. The program is said to result in superconductors stable at temperatures above 90° K.

“Our final product can be stronger, more flexible and less porous than materials that can be obtained from conventional ceramic processes,” Yurek said. “Superconductors derived from metallic precursors are also easier to cast into useful shapes, such as wire coils, ribbons and windings.”

Seeking help in transferring their idea from the lab to the marketplace, the researchers contacted John Preston, director of MIT’s Technology Licensing Office, who helped them apply for a patent (not yet...

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