Scientists have discovered a way to significantly improve the performance of a decades-old superconductor, promising future applications for particle accelerators and research magnets.

Here we study the microstructural and transport properties of Co-Ba122 thin films in which secondary non-superconducting phases have been introduced during film growth in two different ways: first by using a Co-Ba122 target with a small amount of oxygen, second by alternating two different targets: a clean CoBa122 and an undoped Ba122 target.

Lance Cooley, an expert in the field of applied superconductivity, will join the lab this summer.

Grain boundaries in BaFe2As2 (122), which is an iron-based superconductor, block current flow. This study, which was a collaboration with a group at Northwestern University, used a Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP), which is a relatively new experimental tool, to make a 3-D atom-by-atom reconstruction of a region of a 122 sample that included a grain boundary. The data showed that the chemical composition varied across the grain boundary and in that oxygen was present at the grain boundaries. These variations in composition may contribute to grain boundary's reduced current carrying capacity.

First direct evidence that filament fracture accompanies degradation of superconducting cables designed for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). The tokomak fusion reactor, now under construction in France, is an international collaboration crucial to future energy generation from nuclear fusion.

Ferro-pnictide superconductors attracted immediate attention for potential applications due to their high superconducting transition temperatures (Tc up to 56 K) and high upper critical magnetic fields (Hc2 over 100 T). Unfortunately, much as in cuprates, grain boundaries (GBs) were found to obstruct their current carrying capability. This posed a serious technological problem because wires for magnets cannot be single crystals and, thus, inevitably contain grain boundaries. This work shows that low-temperature synthesis of the compound (Ba0.6K0.4)Fe2As2 (Ba-122) in the form of polycrystalline wire achieves a current density three times that of state-of-the-art Nb3Sn wires.

Scientists have developed a new way to test tape made of the promising high-temperature superconductor YBCO, a key step toward building stronger superconducting magnets.

New process fosters development of high field magnets and new high-energy particle accelerators.

Oxford Instruments has named MagLab physicist Chiara Tarantini the 2014 winner of its Lee Osheroff Richardson North American Science Prize.

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