Physica B: Physics of Condensed Matter

Effects of columnar defects on the superconducting properties of Y1Ba2Cu3O7-δ: Limits to the irreversibility line

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A series of YBa2Cu3O7-δ(YBCO) epitaxial films and crystals were irradiated with energetic heavy ions (Sn30+ or Ag29+ at energy 0.58 GeV) to produce columnar defects of highly disordered material. The irreversibility lines, B*(T), show enhancement due to the increased pinning. However, while B* does not exceed that observed in the highest-Jc as-grown epitaxial thin films, the values approach the proposed vortex melting line determined by a number of experiments on nearly defect-free single crystals. These results are interpreted in terms of the predicted upper limit of pinning energies in anisotropic superconductors, and the thermally-induced decoupling of vortex segments. © 1994.