The critical-current density of grain boundaries in high-Tc superconductors was enhanced to values exceeding the previously known limits both at 4.2 K and at 77 K. Noting the importance of space-charge layers and of the dx2-y2-wave pairing symmetry on grain-boundary transport, we have established a model that provides a comprehensive description of the grain boundaries and proposes ways for their improvement, such as overdoping of the grains and of their boundaries. Exploring as example the effects of overdoping of YBa2Cu3O7-δ with Ca, we enhanced significantly the critical current densities and decreased the normal-state resistivities of grain boundaries to unprecedented values. By introducing doping heterostructures to overdope grain boundaries selectively over a few nanometers by benefiting from grain boundary diffusion, the enhancement of the critical-current density is achieved at all temperatures up to Tc. At 77 K, critical current densities are obtained which before had been found only at 4.2 K. This concept is proposed as a practical and cost-effective route to enhance the performance of high-Tc coated conductors fabricated by ion beam assisted deposition (IBAD) or by the rolling assisted biaxially aligned substrate process (RABITS).
Hammerl, G., Bielefeldt, H., Goetz, B., Schmehl, A., Schneider, C. W., Schulz, R. R., ... Mannhart, J. (2001). Doping-induced enhancement of grain boundary critical currents. IEEE transactions on applied superconductivity, 11(1), 2830-2837. https://doi.org/10.1109/77.919652