Interactive modeling-synthesis-characterization approach towards controllable in situ self-assembly of artificial pinning centers in RE-123 films
Raising critical current density J c in high temperature superconductors (HTSs) is an important strategy towards performance-cost balanced HTS technology for commercialization. The development of strong nanoscale artificial pinning centers (APCs) in HTS, such as YBa2Cu3O7 or RE-123 in general, represents one of the most exciting progressions in HTS material research in the last decade. Significantly raised J c has been demonstrated in APC/RE-123 nanocomposites by enhanced pinning on magnetic vortices in magnetic fields towards that demanded in practical applications. Among other processes, strain-mediated self-organization has been explored extensively for in situ formation of the APCs based on fundamental physics design rules. The desire in controlling the morphology, dimension, orientation, and concentration of APCs has led to a fundamental question on how strains interact in determining APCs at a macroscopic scale. Answering this question demands an interactive modeling-synthesis-characterization approach towards a thorough understanding of fundamental physics governing the strain-mediated self-organization of the APCs in the APC/RE-123 nanocomposites. Such an understanding is the key for a leap forward from the traditionally empirical method to materials-by-design to enable an optimal APC landscape to be achieved in epitaxial films of APC/YBCO nanocomposites under a precise guidance of fundamental physics. The paper intends to provide a review of recent progress made in the controllable generation of APCs using the interactive modeling-synthesis-characterization approach. The emphasis will be given to the understanding so far achieved using such an approach on the collective effect of the strain field on the morphology, dimension, and orientation of APCs in epitaxial APC/RE-123 nanocomposite films.