Niobium thin film deposition studies on copper surfaces for superconducting radio frequency cavity applications

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W. M. Roach ; D. B. Beringer ; J. R. Skuza ; W. A. Oliver ; C. Clavero ; C. E. Reece ; R. A. Lukaszew (2012)
  • Publisher: American Physical Society
  • Journal: Physical Review Special Topics. Accelerators and Beams (issn: 1098-4402)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1103/PhysRevSTAB.15.062002
  • Subject: Nuclear and particle physics. Atomic energy. Radioactivity | QC770-798

Thin film coatings have the potential to increase both the thermal efficiency and accelerating gradient in superconducting radio frequency accelerator cavities. However, before this potential can be realized, systematic studies on structure-property correlations in these thin films need to be carried out since the reduced geometry, combined with specific growth parameters, can modify the physical properties of the materials when compared to their bulk form. Here, we present our systematic studies of Nb thin films deposited onto Cu surfaces to clarify possible reasons for the limited success that this process exhibited in previous attempts. We compare these films with Nb grown on other surfaces. In particular, we study the crystal structure and surface morphology and their effect on superconducting properties, such as critical temperature and lower critical field. We found that higher deposition temperature leads to a sharper critical temperature transition, but also to increased roughness indicating that there are competing mechanisms that must be considered for further optimization.
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