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Teresa Puig in the Lab

Superconductor Week talks with Teresa Puig about new improved growth process for YBCO epitaxial films

Teresa Puig appears on the 34th volume of Superconductor Week, a monthly newsletter dedicated to bringing news and analysis about superconductivity to all related parties, from scientists to investors in the industry. Their latest issue covers the breakthrough achieved by the Superconducting Materials Research Group (SUMAN) in the field of growth of YBCO epitaxial films, which was already covered in Nature Communications 11, 334 (2020).

The article covers the development of a transient liquid assisted growth process that allows for ultrafast growth rates, above 100 nm/s, in YBa2Cu3O7 epitaxial films. That makes it 10-100 times faster than the other processes that are currently being used for the development of coated conductors. This is possible through the implementation of the Transient Liquid-Assisted Growth (TLAG), a non-equilibrium process based on transient liquids that ensures fast atomic diffusion and high atomic density, giving it an outstanding growth rate when compared to other gas- or solid-based growth processes. A novel process, possible thanks to the years of experience that the SUMAN group has in both Ba-Cu-O liquids and Chemical solution deposition (CSD) growth of YBCO films.

Superconductor Week readers, ranging from scientists to executives, engineers, investors, analysts, and administrators, will probably have an interest in this development that can have an important effect in energy and large magnet applications,  and in more than one way. For starters, it allows for a higher throughput manufacturing of coated conductors, which in turn reduces the cost for market implementation. It also simplifies the process by eliminating the need for fluorinated precursors, and thus the need for complex gas flow reactors. Instead, the process can be achieved in standard tubular furnaces that have longitudinal gas flow. Moreovoer, t is also compatible with any CSD process.

There are still some challenges being faced by the SUMAN group, that require further fine tuning of the properties in order to avoid certain factors that could limit epitaxial growth. Researchers also want to demonstrate the high performance that can be achieved in thick coated conductors, and the possible scalability of the process through a proof-of-principle that shows the achievable decrease in the cost/performance ratio. Regarding this, Teresa Puig's last ERC Proof-of-Concept (PoC) IMPACT project is aimed to prove the validation of this technology and its technological opportunity in the market. 

You can read more about this in our press release: Breakthrough in the ultrafast growth of superconducting films with high performances (20 January 2020) or the abstract of the publication "Ultrafast transient liquid assisted growth of high current density superconducting films" in Nature Communications.

Reference Article:

L. Soler, J. Jareño, J. Banchewski, S. Rasi, N. Chamorro, R. Guzman, R. Yáñez, C. Mocuta, S. Ricart, J. Farjas, P. Roura-Grabulosa, X. Obradors, T. Puig. Ultrafast transient liquid assisted growth of high corrent density superconducting films. Nature Communications. Published: 17 Jan 2020. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-13791-1.

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