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ULTRAfast growth of ultrahigh performance SUPERconducting TAPEs

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - ULTRASUPERTAPE (ULTRAfast growth of ultrahigh performance SUPERconducting TAPEs)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2020-05-31

ULTRASUPERTAPE aims to demonstrate an unprecedented approach for fabrication of low cost / high throughput / high performance High Temperature Superconducting (HTS) tapes, or Coated Conductors, to push the emerging HTS industry to market. The breakthrough idea is the use of Transient Liquid Assisted Growth (TLAG) from low cost Chemical Solution Deposition of Y, Ba, Cu metalorganic precursors to reach ultrafast growth rates. The key concept relies on the discovery of a tool to control the ignition effect of the transient liquid formation through the decomposition of barium carbonate even for thick films via fast heating or fast PO2 step. Furthermore, ULTRASUPERTAPE will boost Coated Conductor performances up to outstanding limits at high and ultrahigh fields, by smartly designing and engineering the local strain and electronic state properties of nanocomposite superconducting films prepared from nanoparticle colloids. Innovative Additive Manufacturing and Digital Printing methodologies combined with combinatorial chemistry are identified to devise an integrated system able to address the full manufacturing process from solution deposition by ink jet printing to ultrafast epitaxial crystallization of the superconducting phase. This new instrument is foreseen to be transferable to many other functional applications of advanced nanocoatings, where long length or large area production of functional epitaxial films or multilayer structures are required. Consequently, wise ideas and technology emerged from this proposal are foreseen to penetrate the new energy paradigm beyond the clean, efficient and smart limits that Superconductivity offers.
During these 36 months, ULTRASUPERTAPE has advanced in the knowledge of the new Transient Liquid Assisted Growth (TLAG) process for the preparation of High Temperature Superconducting tapes. This knowledge has been gathered from the hard work of a very motivated and enthusiastic team. Major scientific achievements include: 1) Unique UV/LED curable inks have been formulated for the homogeneous thick deposition of the chemical solution layers by ink jet printing. 2) Demonstration of high growth rates with two independent growth approaches already reaching the 100 nm/s proposed. 3) Highly epitaxial layers have been achieved by proper control of the supersaturation conditions of the liquid-based process reaching 5 MA/cm2 at 77 K. Advanced analyses of HRSTEM/EELS and in-situ XRD synchrotron experiments have been crucial to identify the growth mechanism and reaction paths. 4) Epitaxial nanocomposites with high performances have been grown by the TLAG process with non-reactive BaZrO3 and BaHfO3 nanoparticles of small sizes (5 nm).
ULTRASUPERTAPE is expected to generate a disruptive technology to prepare High Temperature Superconducting Coated Conductors with ultrahigh performance to be used in ultrahigh field magnets and energy power applications. Magnets in the range of B>30 T can only be fabricated with HTS while the cost/performance ratio required for electrical power applications can only be reached if a high throughput (high production rate and a low cost) manufacturing technology is achieved. ULTRASUPERTAPE is creating disruptive solutions to the materials engineering requirements of superconducting tapes with a quantum leap in performance enhancement and reduction of production cost. The intrinsic low cost of chemical solution deposition (CSD) methodologies, as compared to other approaches intensive in capital investment or in expensive chemicals, assures a high gain / high risk balance of the novel chosen methodologies. This novel approach will bring European competitiveness well beyond the major industrial producers worldwide. ULTRASUPERTAPE has already demonstrated the ultrafast growth rate over 100 times faster than present technologies (with the consequent reduction of production cost) and its compatibility with low cost CSD additive manufacturing methodologies for high performance films. In addition, we are demonstrating that this approach can be extended to nanocomposites growth with increased performances at high magnetic fields. The project is expected to demonstrate that these new findings can be now implemented to the fabrication of nanocomposite coated conductors, with the help of combinatorial approaches to reach the proposed performances for boosting coated conductors to market. ULTRASUPERTAPE has opened a new frame for complex film growth by establishing new processing paths where interfaces boost novel/improved performances deeply influencing the field of functional materials and its applications.
Superconducting nanocomposite coated conductor architecture from TLAG growth process