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Enhancement of the critical current density in single-crystal Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8 superconductors by chemically induced disorder.

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  • Research Article
  • Chemistry
  • Physics


The effect of metal substitution on the critical current densities of single-crystal PbxBi2-xSr2CaCu2O8 (x = 0 or x = 0.7) superconductors has been investigated. Substitution of lead was found to increase the average critical current density from 1 x 10(5) A/cm2 to 2 x 10(6) A/cm2 at 5 K in an applied magnetic field of 10 kilooersteds (1 oersted = 80 A/m). The order of magnitude increase in the critical current density was observed for temperatures up to the flux vortex lattice melting point; the flux lattice melting point was also found to increase to 30 K (from 22 K) in the lead-substituted materials. Diffraction and microscopy investigations of the structural parameters indicate that the fundamental atomic lattices are virtually the same for both materials. Scanning tunneling microscopy images demonstrate, however, that lead substitution causes significant disorder (or defects) in the one-dimensional superstructure found in Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8. Since crystal defects can increase the critical current density by pinning the motion of flux vortices, it is likely that this lead-induced disorder enhances vortex pinning. The lead-induced disorder is specific to the nonsuperconducting Bi-O layers, and thus our results suggest that chemical substitutions may be utilized to control selectively flux pinning and the critical current density in these materials.

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