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The Cause of ‘Weak-Link’ Grain Boundary Behaviour in Polycrystalline Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8 and Bi2Sr2Ca2Cu3O10 Superconductors

Wang, Guanmei; Raine, Mark J.; Hampshire, Damian P.

The Cause of ‘Weak-Link’ Grain Boundary Behaviour in Polycrystalline Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8 and Bi2Sr2Ca2Cu3O10 Superconductors Thumbnail


Guanmei Wang


The detrimental effects of grain boundaries have long been considered responsible for the low critical current densities (J_c) in high temperature superconductors. In this paper, we apply the quantitative approach used to identify the cause of the 'weak-link' grain boundary behaviour in YBa2Cu3O7 [1], to the Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8 and Bi2Sr2Ca2Cu3O10 materials that we have fabricated. Magnetic and transport measurements are used to characterise the grain and grain boundary properties of micro- and nanocrystalline material. Magnetisation measurements on all nanocrystalline materials show non-Bean-like behaviour and are consistent with surface pinning. Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8: Our microcrystalline material has very low grain boundary resistivity (ρ_GB), which is similar to that of the grains (ρ_G) such that ρ_GB≈ρ_G=2×〖10〗^(-5) Ωm (assuming a grain boundary thickness (d) of 1 nm) equivalent to an areal resistivity of ρ_G=2×〖10〗^(-14) Ωm^2. The transport J_c values are consistent with well-connected grains and very weak grain boundary pinning. However, unlike low temperature superconductors in which decreasing grain size increases the pinning along the grain boundary channels, any increase in pinning produced by making the grains in our Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8 materials nanocrystalline was completely offset by a decrease in the depairing current density of the grain boundaries caused by their high resistivity. We suggest a different approach to increasing J_c from that used in LTS materials, namely incorporating additional strong grain and grain boundary pinning sites in microcrystalline materials to produce high J_c values. Bi2Sr2Ca2Cu3O10: Both our micro- and nanocrystalline samples have ρ_GB/ρ_G of at least 10^3. This causes strong suppression of J_c across the grain boundaries, which explains the low transport J_c values we find experimentally. Our calculations show that low J_c in untextured polycrystalline Bi2Sr2Ca2Cu3O10 material is to be expected and the significant effort in the community in texturing samples and removing grain boundaries altogether is well-founded.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 14, 2017
Online Publication Date Jan 16, 2018
Publication Date Feb 1, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 2, 2017
Publicly Available Date Dec 21, 2017
Journal Superconductor Science and Technology
Print ISSN 0953-2048
Electronic ISSN 1361-6668
Publisher IOP Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 2
Article Number 024001
Public URL


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