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Analysing neutron radiation damage in YBa2Cu3O7-x high temperature superconductor tapes

DOI: 10.1111/jmi.13078 DOI Help

Authors: Y. Linden (University of Oxford) , W. R. Iliffe (University of Oxford) , G. He (University of Oxford) , M. Danaie (Diamond Light Source) , D. X. Fischer (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) , M. Eisterer (TU Wien) , S. C. Speller (University of Oxford) , C. R. M. Grovenor (University of Oxford)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Journal Of Microscopy

State: Published (Approved)
Published: December 2021

Abstract: Superconducting windings will be necessary in future fusion reactors to generate the strong magnetic fields needed to confine the plasma, and these superconducting materials will inevitably be exposed to neutron damage. It is known that this exposure results in the creation of isolated damage cascades, but the presence of these defects alone is not sufficient to explain the degradation of macroscopic superconducting properties and a quantitative method is needed to assess the subtle lattice damage in between the clusters. We have studied REBCO coated conductors irradiated with neutrons to a cumulative dose of 3.3×1022 n*m−2 that show a degradation of both Tc and Jc values, and use HRTEM analysis to show that this irradiation introduces ∼10 nm amorphous collision cascades. In addition we introduce a new method for the analysis of these images to quantify the degree of lattice disorder in the apparently perfect matrix between these cascades. This method utilises Fast Fourier and Discrete Cosine Transformations of a statistically-relevant number of HRTEM images of pristine, neutron-irradiated, and amorphous samples, and extracts the degree of randomness in terms of entropy values. Our results show that these entropy values in both mid-frequency band FFT and DCT domains correlate with the expected level of lattice damage, with the pristine samples having the lowest and the fully amorphous regions the highest entropy values. Our methodology allows us to quantify ‘invisible’ lattice damage to and correlate these values to the degradation of superconducting properties, and also has relevance for a wider range of applications in the field of electron microscopy where small changes in lattice perfection need to be measured.

Subject Areas: Materials, Physics, Technique Development

Technical Areas:

Added On: 09/12/2021 13:18

Discipline Tags:

High energy & particle physics Superconductors Quantum Materials Technique Development - Materials Science Physics Materials Science

Technical Tags: