Publication
Journal of Applied Physics
Paper

Neutron depolarization effects in a high‐Tc superconductor (abstract)

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Abstract

Using the polarized beam small‐angle neutron scattering spectrometer at the Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center Reactor, we have observed significant depolarization of a neutron beam by passage through polycrystalline high‐Tc superconductors, specifically 123 Y‐Ba‐Cu‐O prepared and characterized at the IBM Watson Research Center. We believe that this technique will prove useful in studying aspects of these materials, such as the penetration depth of shielding currents, the presence and structure of trapped flux vortices, and grain size effects on the supercurrent distribution in polycrystalline samples. The two samples showed sharp transitions at 87 and 89 K, and have been studied at temperatures of 77 K; the second sample has also been studied at 4 K. The transition to the superconducting state was monitored by the shift in resonant frequency of a coil surrounding the sample. No measurable depolarization was observed in either sample at 77 K in both the field‐cooled and zero‐field‐cooled states, using applied fields of 0 (nominal), 54, and 1400 Oe. This negative result may be connected with the fact that the material is still in the reversible region as indicated by susceptibility measurements, but it allows an estimate of the upper bound of possible inhomogeneous internal fields, assuming a distance scale for the superconducting regions. For the 10‐μm grain size suggested by photomicrographs, this upper bound for the field turns out to be 1.2 kOe, which seems reasonable. At 4 K a significant depolarization was observed when the sample was cooled in low fields and a field of 1400 Oe was subsequently applied. This result suggests that flux lines are penetrating the sample. Further investigations are being carried out to determine the field and temperature dependence of the depolarization, and attempts will be made to model it quantitatively in terms of possible internal field distributions. We are also searching for possible diffraction effects from ordered vortex arrays and plan to extend the measurements to Bi and Tl compositions. These results will be reported in detail elsewhere. © 1988, American Institute of Physics. All rights reserved.

Date

15 Nov 1988

Publication

Journal of Applied Physics

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