Partnerships and Collaborations
The U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) has put in place the Superconductivity Program for Electric Systems using a comprehensive, integrated approach for the development of HTS technology for cost-effective electric power applications. This approach leads to strong collaborations among many of DOE’s national laboratories, universities, and industry. At Los Alamos, the Superconductivity Technology Center (STC) has developed many partnerships (national labs, universities and industries) to achieve this goal. Below we give a partial list of our partners in each of our research and development areas.
Tape Development and Manufacturing
The DOE program has evolved from the development of first generation BSCCO (Bi2223 and/or Bi2212) in the early 1990’s to almost exclusively the development of second-generation YBCO (coated conductor) tapes today.
Los Alamos still maintains a collaboration with Oxford Superconducting Technology, Inc. (OSTI) in the development of first generation Bi2212 dip coated tapes. Our tape processing studies involving thermal treatments, micro-structural examination, and characterization of superconductor properties have assisted Oxford in improving the performance of these HTS tapes.
Superconductivity centers at Argonne, Oak Ridge, and Los Alamos National Laboratories are partnering in the development of the second generation YBCO tapes. Other national laboratories also involved in the coated conductor development include Brookhaven, Sandia, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Major university collaborations in this area have involved groups at University of Wisconsin (moved to Florida State University in mid 2006), University of Houston, Stanford University, and University of Kansas. This has led to a variety of new processing techniques. Simplistically, these tapes can be thought of as composed of a substrate, one or more buffer layers, and a YBCO coating. The substrate should be strong and flexible, and the buffer layer(s) should provide a good template for the YBCO coating. To indicate how robust the DOE program is we briefly sketch the efforts at each laboratory.
At Oak Ridge the approach has been to develop the biaxial template in the substrate itself. Using a process called RABiTS (Rolling Assisted Biaxially Textured Substrates), they produce a textured substrate (usually Ni or a NiW alloy). They then deposit buffer layers while maintaining texture and then deposit the YBCO coating. See the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Superconductivity Web site (http://www.ornl.gov/sci/oetd/superconductivity.htm) for the details of their program.
Our research at Los Alamos on second-generation YBCO-coated conductors consists of using commercial substrates (usually Inconel or Hastelloy), the template layer using ion beam assisted deposition (IBAD) process, and YBCO coatings using pulsed laser deposition (PLD). Our main effort in the coated conductor research program has been in developing and improving the IBAD and PLD processes. The industrial partners for this research and development at the national labs have been Intermagnetic General Corp. (SuperPower), American Superconductor Corp. (AMSC), and Metal Oxide Technologies, Inc. (Metox). All of these companies have many types of collaborations with the national laboratories and universities. In particular, AMSC has a long-standing collaborative effort, the Wire Development Group (WDG), that started in the early 1990s originally focusing on development of Bi2223, but now shifted entirely to YBCO coated conductors. Members of this group include AMSC, LANL, Oak Ridge NL, Argonne NL, and the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison (moved to Florida State Univ. in mid 2006). SuperPower has strong collaborations with LANL, Oak Ridge NL, Argonne NL, and several universities.
Work at Argonne National Laboratory has largely focused on detailed characterization of HTS materials by such techniques as electron microscopy (both transmission and scanning), scanning Raman spectroscopy, XRD, magneto-optical imaging, electrical property measurements, and others. This work is almost exclusively in support of AMSC and SuperPower.
The power application work at the STC has been mainly under DOE's SPI (originally Superconductivity Partnership Initiative, then Superconductivity Partnerships with Industry) program, so we will discuss the SPIs that Los Alamos has most recently been involved.
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