Enhanced upper critical field in Co-doped Ba122 superconductors by lattice defect tuning
Nanoscale defects in superconductors play a dominant role in enhancing superconducting properties through electron scattering, modulation of coherence length, and correlation with quantized magnetic flux. For iron-based superconductors (IBSCs) that are expected to be employed in high-field magnetic applications, a fundamental question is whether such defects develop an upper critical field (Hc2) similar to that of conventional BCS-type superconductors. Herein, we report the first demonstration
... irst demonstration of a significantly improved Hc2 in a 122-phase IBSC by introducing defects through high-energy milling. Co-doped Ba122 polycrystalline bulk samples (Ba(Fe,Co)2As2) were prepared by sintering powder which was partially mechanically alloyed through high-energy milling. A remarkable increase in full-width at half maximum of X-ray powder diffraction peaks, anomalous shrinkage in the a-axis, and elongation in the c-axis were observed. When lattice defects are introduced into the grains, semiconductor behavior of the electric resistivity at low temperature (T < 100 K), slight decrease in transition temperature (Tc), upturn of Hc2(T) near Tc, and a large increase in Hc2(T) slope were observed. The slope of Hc2(T) increased approximately by 50%, i.e., from 4 to 6 T/K, and exceeded that of single crystals and thin films. Defect engineering through high-energy milling is expected to facilitate new methods for the designing and tuning of Hc2 in 122-phase IBSCs.