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No interface energy barrier and increased surface pinning in low temperature baked niobium

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Article number5522
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/04/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Scientific Reports
Issue number1
Number of pages9
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Superconducting Radio-Frequency cavities are currently made out of niobium. Niobium cavities are limited by the magnetic field on the cavity walls due to the entry of vortices at the field of first vortex penetration, Hvp. Low temperature baking in vacuum or low pressure gas atmosphere removes the strong decrease of the quality factor with accelerating gradient (high field Q-slope). Some cavities reach surface magnetic field above the lower critical field Hc1. One hypothesis for this performance increase is that the outer layer affected by the treatments acts as a barrier for vortex penetration (effective bilayer). Using a vibrating sample magnetometer the field of first flux penetration (Hvp) was measured for Nb ellipsoids with various low temperature treatments. All Hvp values were found to be consistent with the lower critical field, Hc1, as predicted for clean niobium. This led to the conclusion that a metastable flux free state above Hc1 cannot be observed in DC magnetometry for low temperature baked niobium unlike for bilayers consisting of two superconductors as previously published. The effect of flux pinning differed significantly between treatments, suggesting that the high field Q-slope mitigation might be related to vortex pinning in the surface of the cavities.