Pinning Potential of the Self-Assembled Artificial Pinning Centers in Nanostructured YBa2Cu3O7-x Superconducting Films

Nanomaterials (Basel). 2022 May 17;12(10):1713. doi: 10.3390/nano12101713.


For high-field power applications of high-temperature superconductors, it became obvious in recent years that nano-engineered artificial pinning centers are needed for increasing the critical current and pinning potential. As opposed to the artificial pinning centers obtained by irradiation with various particles, which is a quite expensive approach, we have studied superconducting samples having self-assembled defects, created during the sample fabrication, that act as effective pinning centers. We introduced a simple, straight-forward method of estimating the frequency-dependent critical current density by using frequency-dependent AC susceptibility measurements, in fixed temperatures and DC magnetic fields, from the positions of the maxima in the dependence of the out-of-phase susceptibility on the amplitude of AC excitation magnetic field. The results are compatible with a model that stipulates a logarithmic dependence of the pinning potential on the probing current. A mathematical derivation allowed us to estimate from the experimental data the pinning potentials in various samples, and in various DC magnetic fields. The resulted values indicate large pinning potentials, leading to very small probability of magnetic flux escaping the pinning wells, hence, leading to very high critical currents in high magnetic fields.

Keywords: artificial pinning centers; critical current density; multilayers; nanoscale defects; pinning potential; superconducting films.