Chemical and Microstructural Nanoscale Homogeneity in Superconducting YBa2Cu3O7–x Films Derived from Metal-Propionate Fluorine-free solutions
Lavinia Saltarelli, Kapil Gupta*, Silvia Rasi, Aiswarya Kethamkuzhi, Albert Queraltó, Diana Garcia, Joffre Gutierrez, Jordi Farjas, Pere Roura-Grabulosa, Susagna Ricart, Xavier Obradors, and Teresa Puig*
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2022, 14, 43, 48582-48597
Research involved in developing alternative energy sources has become a necessity to face global warming. In this context, superconductivity is an appealing solution to enhance clean electrical energy provided that lower production costs can be attained. By implementation of chemical solution deposition techniques and high-throughput growth methods, low-cost nanostructured epitaxial cuprate superconductors are timely candidates.Here, we present a versatile and tunable solution method suitable for the preparation of high-performance epitaxial cuprate superconducting films. Disregarding the renowned trifluoroacetate route, we center our focus on the transient liquid-assisted growth (TLAG) that meets the requirement of being a greener chemical process together with ultrafast growth rates beyond 100 nm/s.
We developed a facile, fast, and cost-effective method, starting from the synthesis of metal-propionate powders of Y, Ba, and Cu of high purity and high yields, being the precursors of the fluorine-free solutions, which enable the chemical and microstructural nanoscale homogeneity of YBa2Cu3O7–x (YBCO) precursor films.These solutions present endured stability and enable precise tunability of the composition, concentration, porosity, and film thickness. Homogeneous precursor films up to thicknesses of 2.7 μm through eight layer multidepositions are demonstrated, thus establishing the correct basis for epitaxial growth using the fast kinetics of the TLAG process. YBCO films of 500 nm thickness with a critical current density of 2.6 MA/cm2 at 77 K were obtained, showing the correlation of precursor film homogeneity to the final YBCO physical properties.