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Isotropic round-wire multifilament cuprate superconductor for generation of magnetic fields above 30 T

Abstract

Magnets are the principal market for superconductors, but making attractive conductors out of the high-temperature cuprate superconductors (HTSs) has proved difficult because of the presence of high-angle grain boundaries that are generally believed to lower the critical current density, Jc. To minimize such grain boundary obstacles, HTS conductors such as REBa2Cu3O7−x and (Bi, Pb)2Sr2Ca2Cu3O10−x are both made as tapes with a high aspect ratio and a large superconducting anisotropy. Here we report that Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8−x (Bi-2212) can be made in the much more desirable isotropic, round-wire, multifilament form that can be wound or cabled into arbitrary geometries and will be especially valuable for high-field NMR magnets beyond the present 1 GHz proton resonance limit of Nb3Sn technology. An appealing attribute of this Bi-2212 conductor is that, being without macroscopic texture, it contains many high-angle grain boundaries but nevertheless attains a very high Jc of 2,500 A mm−2 at 20 T and 4.2 K. The large potential of the conductor has been demonstrated by building a small coil that generated almost 2.6 T in a 31 T background field. This demonstration that grain boundary limits to high Jc can be practically overcome underlines the value of a renewed focus on grain boundary properties in non-ideal geometries.

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Figure 1: Critical current densities for representative state-of-the-art conductors used for superconducting magnet construction.
Figure 2: The extremes of present conductor technology.
Figure 3: Macroscopic and microscopic images of the Bi-2212 conductor architecture.
Figure 4: Reaction pressure dependence of critical current density.
Figure 5: High-field demonstration coil wound with 30 m of 1.4-mm-diameter Bi-2212 wire.
Figure 6: Critical surfaces of different conductor families.

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Acknowledgements

This work was carried out within the Very High Field Superconducting Magnet Collaboration (VHFSMC), which was supported by an ARRA grant of the US Department of Energy, Office of High Energy Physics (DE-SC0010421), amplified by the NHMFL, which is supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF/DMR-1157490 and by the State of Florida. We are grateful for many discussions from partners within the VHFSMC collaboration, especially A. Ghosh (BNL), A. Godeke (LBNL), A. Malagoli (Now CNR-SPIN, Genoa Italy) and T. Shen (Fermilab), as well as the producers of the 2212 wires, Y. Huang and H. Miao, at Oxford Superconducting Technology. We acknowledge the help of D. Abraimov in high-field tests of Bi-2223 and European Synchrotron Radiation Facility for beam time at ID15A.

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J.J. and M.M. reacted the samples, N.C.C., M.D-C and U.P.T. performed the transport critical current measurements, F.K. and J.J. performed the metallography and electron backscatter diffraction, C.S. performed the X-ray tomography, M.D-C, P.C. and U.P.T. constructed and tested the coil and D.C.L., E.E.H. and P.J.L. led the work and took the lead in preparing the paper.

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Correspondence to D. C. Larbalestier.

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Larbalestier, D., Jiang, J., Trociewitz, U. et al. Isotropic round-wire multifilament cuprate superconductor for generation of magnetic fields above 30 T. Nature Mater 13, 375–381 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat3887

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