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[en] In this study, we used a systematic route to optimize the fluorine-free MOD process to achieve a high critical current density (Jc) in BaZrO3 (BZO)-doped YBCO films on RABiTS substrates. The BZO content is given by 1 YBCO+x BZO films, where x is moles of BZO per 1 mole of YBCO. We found x = 0.10 to be the optimal BZO content and ∼795–805 °C to be the optimal growth temperature window with 60–90 min processing time. TEM studies show the BZO nanoparticles are ∼20 nm in size and spaced ∼50–100 nm apart. The in-field Jc and the peak pinning force (Fp) of the film grown at the optimal conditions were greatly increased at 77 K relative to pure YBCO films, achieving ∼6.7 GN m−3 at 77 K, H ‖ c in a ∼800 nm thick x = 0.10 film. The angular dependence of in-field Jc measurements also shows greatly reduced angular anisotropy at 1 and 4 T at 77 K due to isotropic pinning by BZO nanoparticles. (paper)
[en] In this study, BaZrO3 (BZO)-doped YBCO films were fabricated on SrTiO3(100) single-crystal substrates by a fluorine-free metal–organic deposition (MOD) process. We added extra Ba and Zr organic salts, which formed well-dispersed ∼10–25 nm sized BaZrO3 nanoparticles in the YBCO films. The in-field critical current density (Jc) and the peak pinning force (Fp) were greatly enhanced in the BZO-doped sample at 77 K relative to pure YBCO films. The optimal BZO content that gave the highest peak pinning force of ∼10 GN m−3 in a ∼180 nm thick film was found to be x = 0.10 for YBCO + xBZO films, where x is moles of BZO per 1 mol of YBCO. The angular dependence of in-field Jc measurements shows the BZO nanoparticles increased Jc over the entire angular range and also reduced the angular anisotropy measured at 4 T at 77 K. (paper)
[en] REBa2Cu3Oy coated conductors have recently become viable for high field superconducting magnets and this use may be the principal present driver of coated conductor development. Driving the transport critical current density (J c) as high as possible has become one of the principal goals of CC manufacturers but this can only be done by developing highly engineered nanostructures that may not be easy to control in quantity production of long lengths. Protection of high field (B) magnets operating in the temperature (T) of 4–20 K range is challenging and one key data set needed for accurate quench modeling is a wide-ranging J c(B, T) data set. At the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL), 12 km of REBCO tapes were purchased for the all-superconducting 32 T user magnet that successfully reached field recently. They were characterized at 4.2 K with field orientation B perpendicular to tape and at 18° off the tape-plane axis. Of the tapes selected for 32 T, three were chosen for additional J c(B, T) characterization from 4.2 to 75 K in the B tape orientation in fields from 1 to 15 T. Although all tape lengths were bought to the same advanced pinning specification, in fact there was substantial variation of more than 2 in the low temperature, high field J c. Here we probe the reasons for this variability in the context of measurements of the transport J c(B, T) dependence of 3 representative samples from this distribution with Ginzburg–Landau models of vortex pinning using a power law for J c(B) and an exponential temperature dependence for T < 45K and 3T < B < 15T. A fourth tape from the 32T magnet procurement with J c outside this range was then selected to test the validity of our modelling. Using this extensive data set, the correlation between J c(B, 4.2K) and J c(B, T) enabled us to predict J c(B, T) for tapes procured for the 32T magnet with an expected accuracy of 10% or less for T < 40K and B up to 15 T. Transmission electron microscopy made clear that the BaZrO3 (BZO) size, volume fraction and density varied significantly across the range of conductors studied, suggesting that nano-structural control is difficult during coated conductor manufacture and that the resulting J c variations may have to be accepted in procurement practice. (paper)
[en] We present a broad study by multiple techniques of the critical current and critical current density of a small but representative set of nominally identical commercial RE123 (REBa_2Cu_3O_7_−_δ, RE = rare Earth, here Y and Gd) coated conductors (CC) recently fabricated by SuperPower Inc. to the same nominal high pinning specification with BaZrO_3 and RE_2O_3 nanoprecipitate pinning centers. With high-field low-temperature applications to magnet technology in mind, we address the nature of their tape-to-tape variations and length-wise I _c inhomogeneities by measurements on a scale of about 2 cm rather than the 5 m scale normally supplied by the vendor and address the question of whether these variations have their origin in cross-sectional or in vortex pinning variations. Our principal method has been a continuous measurement transport critical current tool (YateStar) that applies about 0.5 T perpendicular and parallel to the tape at 77 K, thus allowing variations of c-axis and ab-plane properties to be clearly distinguished in the temperature and field regime where strong pinning defects are obvious. We also find such in-field measurements at 77 K to be more valuable in predicting 4.2 K, high-field properties than self-field, 77 K properties because the pinning centers controlling 77 K performance play a decisive role in introducing point defects that also add strongly to J _c at 4.2 K. We find that the dominant source of I _c variation is due to pinning center fluctuations that control J _c, rather than to production defects that locally reduce the active cross-section. Given the 5–10 nm scale of these pinning centers, it appears that the route to greater I _c homogeneity is through more stringent control of the REBCO growth conditions in these Zr-doped coated conductors. (paper)
[en] We have recently shown that the gas present in the only ∼ 70% dense filaments of as-drawn Bi-2212 wire agglomerates into large bubbles that fill the entire filament diameter during the melt phase of the heat treatment. Once formed, these bubbles never disappear, although they can be bridged by 2212 grains formed on cooling. In order to test the effect of these bubbles on the critical current Ic, we increased the density of the filaments after drawing using 2 GPa of cold isostatic pressure, finding that the bubble density and size were greatly reduced and that Ic could be at least doubled. We conclude that enhancement of the filament packing density is of great importance for making major Ic improvements in this very useful, round superconducting wire. (rapid communication)
[en] In order to develop a high current density in coils, Bi-2212 wires must be electrically discrete in tight winding packs. It is vital to use an insulating layer that is thin, fulfils the dielectric requirements, and can survive the heat treatment whose maximum temperature reaches 890 °C in oxygen. A thin (20-30 µm) ceramic coating could be better as the insulating layer compared to alumino-silicate braided fiber insulation, which is about 150 μm thick and reacts with the Ag sheathed Bi-2212 wire during heat treatment. At present, TiO2 seems to be the most viable ceramic material for such a thin insulation because it is chemically compatible with Ag and Bi-2212 and its sintering temperature is lower than the maximum temperature used for the Bi-2212 heat treatment. However, recent tests of a large Bi-2212 coil insulated only with TiO2 showed severe electrical shorting between the wires after over pressure heat treatment (OPHT). The origin of the shorting was frequent silver protrusions into the porous TiO2 layer that electrically connected adjacent Bi-2212 wires. To understand the mechanism of this unexpected behaviour, we investigated the effect of sheath material and hydrostatic pressure on Ag protrusions. We found that Ag protrusions occur only when TiO2-insulated Ag-0.2%Mg sheathed wire (Ag(Mg) wire) undergoes OPHT at 50 bar. No Ag protrusions were observed when the TiO2-insulated Ag(Mg) wire was processed at 1 bar. The TiO2-insulated wires sheathed with pure Ag that underwent 50 bar OPHT were also free from Ag protrusions. A key finding is that the Ag protrusions from the Ag(Mg) sheath actually contain no MgO, suggesting that local depletion of MgO facilitates local, heterogeneous deformation of the sheath under hydrostatic overpressure. Our study also suggests that predensifying the Ag(Mg) wire before insulating it with TiO2 and doing the final OPHT can potentially limit Ag protrusions. (paper)
[en] Increasing the critical current density (Jc) of the multifilamentary round wire Ag/Bi2Sr2CaCu2Ox(2212) requires understanding its complicated microstructure, in which extensive bridges between filaments are prominent. In this first through-process quench study of 2212 round wire, we determined how its microstructure develops during a standard partial-melt process and how filament bridging occurs. We found that filaments can bond together in the melt state. As 2212 starts to grow on subsequent cooling, we observed that two types of 2212 bridges form. One type, which we call Type-A bridges, forms within filaments that bonded in the melt; Type-A bridges are single grains that span multiple bonded filaments. The other type, called Type-B bridges, form between discrete filaments through 2212 outgrowths that penetrate into the Ag matrix and intersect with other 2212 outgrowths from adjacent filaments. We believe the ability of these two types of bridges to carry inter-filament current is intrinsically different: Type-A bridges are high- Jc inter-filament paths whereas Type-B bridges contain high-angle grain boundaries and are typically weak linked. Slow cooling leads to more filament bonding, more Type-A bridges and a doubling of Jc without changing the flux pinning. We suggest that Type-A bridges create a 3D current flow that is vital to developing high Jc in multifilamentary 2212 round wire.
[en] The poor reproducibility of intergrain critical current density Jc in Fe-based superconductors is often believed to result from uncontrolled grain boundary (GB) connectivity degraded by extrinsic factors such as the local or global impurity concentration or GB porosity or cracks. Earlier we found that Ba and K can appear as oxide impurities at GBs, along with GB-wetting FeAs. In this study, we evaluated how the sample preparation environment and purity of the starting materials influence the polycrystalline Jc in K-doped BaFe2As2 (Ba122) bulks. Using a high-performance glovebox, the oxygen and water levels were significantly reduced, eliminating traces of FeAs. Oxide impurities and Ba (or K) segregation associated with oxygen in the starting materials were significantly reduced by using high purity starting materials. This combination essentially doubled the best Jc(4.2 K) values to 2.3 × 105 at self-field and 1.6 × 104A cm−2 at 10 T and analytical scanning transmission electron microscopy showed no GB or O segregation in the best samples, but did show dark Z-contrast and distinct nanoscale porosity. Our work shows that an inert synthesis environment and high purity K and Ba do reduce current-blocking oxygen impurity and GB impurity phases, allowing deeper exploration of the role of extrinsic and intrinsic GB blocking effects in controlling the Jc of polycrystalline Ba122. (paper)
[en] It is well known that the critical current density Jc of multifilamentary Bi-2212 wires tends to decline as the wire length increases, but the reasons for and the magnitude of this decline remain obscure and quantitatively unpredictable. Here we report on the Jc and mass density variation with length on ∼ 1 m long samples taken from two recent and representative wires, in which we find a strong decrease of Jc with distance from the end and a strong correlation between Jc and the local mass density. The mass density variations occur on length scales of centimeters, many times the nominal 15 μm filament diameter. The cause of the mass density variation appears to be internal gas pressure that generates bubbles which almost fill the filament diameter when the Bi-2212 melts. Control of this internal pressure seems to be vital to moderating or avoiding the length dependence of Jc.
[en] We have made extensive low temperature and high field evaluations of a recent 2.1 μm thick coated conductor (CC) grown by metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) with a view to its use for high field magnet applications, for which its very strong Hastelloy substrate makes it very suitable. This conductor contains dense three-dimensional (Y,Sm)2O3 nanoprecipitates, which are self-aligned in planes tilted ∼7 deg. from the tape plane. Very strong vortex pinning is evidenced by high critical current density Jc values of ∼3.1 MA cm-2 at 77 K and ∼43 MA cm-2 at 4.2 K, and by a strongly enhanced irreversibility field Hirr, which reaches that of Nb3Sn (∼28 T at 1.5 K) at 60 K, even in the inferior direction of H parallel c axis. At 4.2 K, Jc values are ∼15% of the depairing current density Jd, much the highest of any superconductor suitable for magnet construction.