What happens with YBCO during nanocomposite formation?

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Influence of Ba2+ Consumption and Intermediate Dwelling during Processing of YBa2Cu3O7 Nanocomposite Films

Hannes Rijckaert, Jens Hänisch, Glenn Pollefeyt, Michael Bäcker and Isabel Van Driessche.

Journal of the American Ceramic Society - DOI:0.1111/jace.16228

Abstract

Achieving high critical current densities (Jc) with small artificial pinning centers is a crucial challenge for YBa2Cu3O7‐δ (YBCO) nanocomposite thin films fabricated using chemical solution deposition methods. In this work, the YBCO texture, structure purity and its Jc properties were improved by understanding the influence of preformed ZrO2 nanocrystals (Ba2+ consumption) during the nucleation and growth mechanism. This comprehensive study leads to an additional intermediate dwelling step during thermal process to increase the YBCO nuclei density before the YBCO growth, resulting to a self‐field Jc of 5‐6 MA cm−2 at 77 K for undoped and ZrO2‐doped YBCO films. Counter‐intuitively, the space and size distribution of the ZrO2 nanocrystals in the YBCO matrix are independent of this intermediate dwelling step.