For power applications of superconducting films, the critical current density (J(c)) and the thickness of the film (d) should be as high as possible. Since J(c) decreases with both thickness and magnetic field, artificial pinning centers in addition to natural ones are required to keep J(c) high. The earliest cost-effective method used for introducing artificial pinning centers was the so-called substrate decoration, i.e., growing nanoscale islands (nano-dots) of certain materials on the substrate prior to the deposition of the superconducting thin film. Later on other two approaches proved to be successful: building up a layered distribution of a second phase using a multilayer deposition (quasi-superlattices) and distributing a secondary phase in the film from a compositionally changed target. Several materials have been used for the creation of artificial pinning centers. Here we report on the artificial pinning centers induced in YBCO thick films by substrate decoration and quasi-superlattice approaches using nano-dots of Ag, Au, Pd or non-superconducting YBCO. The cross-sectional AFM images show evidence of c-axis correlated columnar defects. These defects significantly contribute to the pinning of magnetic flux and increase critical current in the films.
- substrate decoration
- Critical current density
- superconducting thin film
- high temperature superconductor