Title of the project: Ultrahigh field conductors for accelerators physics
Supervisors and Host Institution: Dr. Joffre Gutierrez and Prof. Teresa Puig at Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC)
Motivated by the need to enable new technology that will drive future research, we characterize the electrical properties of several REBa2Cu3O7-x (RE = Rare Earth) coated conductors (CCs), a high temperature superconducting structure, with both direct and high frequency current excitation in a wide cryogenic range and at large magnetic fields up to 9 T. Our investigation is of particular interest for CERN’s design decisions of their prospected next generation particle accelerator. The surface impedance of the coated conductors under study at extreme conditions of 50 K, 16 T and 1 GHz determines whether the superconductors can be applied in the FCC-hh beam screen chamber in order to render the particle accelerator more efficient and sustainable. On the road towards a save usage of superconductors in the stainless steel pipe, the coated conductors have to pass several practical requirements like the large scale attachment to the screening chamber or the vacuum and magnetic field quality compatibility. In order to face these challenges adequately, CERN assembled a consortium consisting of Material Science Institute of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC), ALBA-synchrotron light source, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), the High Energy Physics Institute of Barcelona (IFAE) and CERN, which serves as a framework for this PhD project.
After studying the Chalcogenide Phase-Change Materials’ electrical, electronic and structural properties by means of low temperature transport measurements, X-ray diffraction and photoemission spectroscopy in thin films during my Bachelor and Master thesis at the I. Physical Institute of RWTH Aachen University, I felt encouraged to carry over the developed characterization skills on new materials. Already quite early in my master studies, the excellent reputation of the Material Science Institute of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) reached my attention. Prof. Teresa Puig, head of Superconducting materials (SUNAM) group at ICMAB, gave an inspiring talk about High Temperature Superconducters at the RWTH Aachen University in 2015. It has proven to impact me as it determined the material class I would like to study next and triggered an application for a PhD position in the SUMAN group.
Being part of the DOC-FAM programme upgraded my trajectory as a PhD student immensely. There are two aspects I appreciate most. First, the mobility resources allowed the participation at several international conferences where scientific communication and dissemination was trained in front of posters, on a stage or more recently, owing to Covid-19, behind a screen. In addition, it helped with the realization of a secondment at University Roma Tre under the supervision of Prof. Enrico Silva. The stay in the electrical engineering laboratory was transformative.
Second, the meetings and trainings with fellows of different backgrounds under a collective DOC-FAM umbrella on the one hand, fed my professional curiosity by giving insights into new projects to confront social challenges with functional advanced materials and on the other hand, enriched me on a personal level with colleagues that I enjoy spending time with and can learn from.
The operation in a project consortium of highly decorated institutes together with opportunities provided by DOC-FAM form stepping stones in my development. A development towards becoming an expert on the field of High Temperature Superconductors coated conductors for beam screen coating and more broadly, a physicist who can draw from a rich soft skills and material characterization techniques training in order to mentor small research groups.