Enhancing critical current in YBCO thick films: Substrate decoration and quasi-superlattice approach

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For power applications of superconducting films, the critical current density (Jc) and the thickness of the film (d) should be as high as possible. Since Jc decreases with both thickness and magnetic field, artificial pinning centres in addition to natural ones are required to keep Jc high. The earliest cost-effective method used for introducing artificial pinning centres was the so-called substrate decoration, i.e., growing nano-scale islands (nano-dots) of certain materials on the substrate prior to the deposition of the superconducting thin film. Later on another version of this approach proved to be successful: building up a layered distribution of a second phase using a multilayer deposition (quasi-superlattices). Several materials have been used for the creation of artificial pinning centres. Here we report on the artificial pinning centres induced in YBCO thick films by substrate decoration and quasi-superlattice approaches using nano-dots of Pd and 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.

We observed an important shift of the position of the maximum in the thickness dependence of Jc(B) towards higher thicknesses compared with pure YBCO films by both approaches. A high Jc(B) in our quite thick films provides a very high total critical current per cm of the film width. Critical current as high as 800 A/cm width was achieved in a 2.4 μm thick quasi-superlattice film with non-superconducting YBCO nano-dots.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1550-1553
Number of pages4
JournalPhysica C Superconductivity
Issue number15-20
Early online date31 May 2009
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2009
EventInternational Symposium on Superconductivity, 21st - , United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jan 2009 → …