Neutron Scattering Studies of Vortex Matter in Type-II Superconductors Page: 1 of 8
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Final Report to US Department of Energy
Grant # DE-FG02-07ER46458 (Brown University)
"Neutron Scattering Studies of Vortex Matter in Type-IT Superconductors"
PI: Xinsheng Sean Ling
Date of the report: 02/02/2012
Period covered by the report: Aug. 1, 2007 - July 31, 2011
The proposed program is an experimental study of the fundamental properties of
Abrikosov vortex matter in type-II superconductors. Most superconducting materials
used in applications such as MRI are type II and their transport properties are determined
by the interplay between random pinning, interaction and thermal fluctuation effects in
the vortex state. Given the technological importance of these materials, a fundamental
understanding of the vortex matter is necessary. The vortex lines in type-II
superconductors also form a useful model system for fundamental studies of a number of
important issues in condensed matter physics, such as the presence of a symmetry-
breaking phase transition in the presence of random pinning. Recent advances in neutron
scattering facilities such as the major upgrade of the NIST cold source and the Spallation
Neutron Source are providing unprecedented opportunities in addressing some of the
longstanding issues in vortex physics. The core component of the proposed program is to
use small angle neutron scattering and Bitter decoration experiments to provide the most
stringent test of the Bragg glass theory by measuring the structure factor in both the real
and reciprocal spaces. The proposed experiments include a neutron reflectometry
experiment to measure the precise Q-dependence of the structure factor of the vortex
lattice in the Bragg glass state. A second set of SANS experiments will be on a shear-
strained Nb single crystal for testing a recently proposed theory of the stability of Bragg
glass. The objective is to artificially create a set of parallel grain boundaries into a Nb
single crystal and use SANS to measure the vortex matter diffraction pattern as a function
of the changing angle between the applied magnetic field to the grain boundaries. The
intrinsic merits of the proposed work are a new fundamental understanding of type-II
superconductors on which superconducting technology is based, and a firm
understanding of phases and phase transitions in condensed matter systems with random
pinning. The broader impact of the program includes the training of future generation
of neutron scientists, and further development of neutron scattering and complementary
techniques for studies of superconducting materials. The graduate and undergraduate
students participating in this project will learn the state-of-the-art neutron scattering
techniques, acquire a wide range of materials research experiences, and participate in the
frontier research of superconductivity. This should best prepare the students for future
careers in academia, industry, or government.
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Ling, Xinsheng. Neutron Scattering Studies of Vortex Matter in Type-II Superconductors, report, February 2, 2012; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc845117/m1/1/: accessed May 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.