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Temperature mapping of the outer surface of a superconducting radio-frequency cavity is a technique that is often used to identify lossy areas on the cavity surface. In this contribution, we present 2-D images of the superconducting state surface resistance Rs of the inner surface of a superconducting radio-frequency (SRF) cavity obtained by low-temperature laser scanning microscopy. This technique, which is applied for the first time to study lossy regions in an operating SRF cavity, allows identifying “hotspots” with about one order of magnitude better spatial resolution (~ 2 mm) than by thermometry. The Rs-resolution is of the order of 1 μΩ at 3.3 GHz. Surface resistance maps with different laser power and optical images of the cavity surface are discussed in this contribution. It is also shown that the thermal gradient on the niobium surface created by the laser beam can move some of the hotspots, which are identified as locations of trapped bundle of fluxoids. The prospects for this microscope to identify defects that limit the performance of SRF cavities will also be discussed.
Date of Publication: June 2013