Technologies Available for License
1999-017: Synthesis of YBCO Superconductors Using Low-Pressure Processing
Patent Status: U.S. Patent Number 6,794,339 was issued on September 21, 2004
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YBa2Cu3O7 (YBCO) is an especially useful second-generation high-temperature superconductor because it becomes superconducting at temperatures above that of liquid nitrogen. Unfortunately, YBCO synthesis is often complex, expensive, and difficult to execute on industrial scales. Now, this practical, scalable, and low-cost technique can produce large YBCO tapes and wires for use in high-field magnets or to carry electrical current.
This method uses a precursor material containing a rare earth element, an alkaline earth element, fluorine, and copper. The precursor is heat treated at about 500ÂºC in the presence of oxygen and water vapor at sub-atmospheric pressure to form a crystalline structure, which is then annealed in oxygen to form the superconducting film. Films between 50 nm and 5 Âµm can be grown by this method at a rate of about 0.1 nm/s to about 2 nm/s. The method produces bi-axially oriented high-temperature superconductor films when a buffered metal substrate is employed.
The low pressures used in this process allow for industrial scale manufacturing, and the low water vapor partial pressure allows for growth on metal substrates. The high quality of the resulting films makes them suitable for use as fault current limiters in addition to magnets and current-carrying wires.
Applications and Industries
Applications include the low-cost manufacture of superconducting wires and tapes for conducting electrical current or producing high magnetic fields.