The most effective way to enhance the dissipation-free supercurrent in the presence of a magnetic field for type II superconductors is to introduce defects that act as artificial pinning centers (APCs) for vortices. For instance, the in-field critical current density of doped BaFe2As2 (Ba122), one of the most technologically important Fe-based superconductors, has been improved over the last decade by APCs created by ion irradiation. The technique of ion irradiation has been commonly implemented to determine the ultimate superconducting properties. However, this method is rather complicated and expensive. Here, we report a surprisingly high critical current density and strong pinning efficiency close to the crystallographic c-axis for a K-doped Ba122 epitaxial thin film without APCs, achieving performance comparable to ion-irradiated K-doped Ba122 single crystals. Microstructural analysis reveals that the film is composed of columnar grains with widths of approximately 30–60 nm. The grains are rotated around the b- (or a-) axis by 1.5° and around the c-axis by −1°, resulting in the formation of low-angle grain boundary networks. This study demonstrates that the upper limit of in-field properties reached in ion-irradiated K-doped Ba122 is achievable by grain boundary engineering, which is a simple and industrially scalable manner.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Modelling and Simulation
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics