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A generic Mg-doped Nd-Ba-Cu-O seed crystal has been developed recently for the fabrication of any type of rare earth (RE) based (RE)-Ba-Cu-O single grain bulk superconductor in air. The new generic seed simplifies significantly the top seeded melt growth (TSMG) process for light rare earth based (Nd, Sm, Gd, or mixed rare earth elements) bulk superconductors, in particular. GdBCO single grains have been fabricated successfully in air using the new seed in a cold-seeding process. In this study, precursor powders were enriched with different amounts of BaO2 to investigate the extent of substitution of Gd for Ba in the Gd1+xBa2-xCu3O7-delta solid solution phase. The growth process of large single grains in air was investigated at various growth temperatures under isothermal processing conditions. Crystal growth rate as a function of under-cooling and BaO2 content has been determined from these experiments. The spatial variation of Tc and transition temperature width for applied field aligned along the a/b and c-axis of grains fabricated with different BaO2 content has also been investigated in order to understand the extent of the formation of Gd/Ba solid solution with varying growth temperature and precursor composition. These results have been used to establish the optimum conditions for fabricating solid solution-free, large single grains of GdBCO in air.
Date of Publication: June 2007