Vanadium oxide coating for HTS magnet quench protection


High-temperature superconductors (HTC) such as REBa2Cu3O7 − δ (REBCO, RE = rare earth) enable high-current cables and high-field magnets. By removing the turn-to-turn insulation in a magnet application, recent experiments demonstrated that REBCO magnets can self-protect against catastrophic damage during a superconducting-to-normal transition (quench), i.e., when the stored magnetic energy rapidly converts to heat. The current can bypass the hot spot during a quench, thereby reducing the localized heat dissipation. The removal of the insulation between turns, however, leads to excessive eddy currents during current ramping, thereby forcing a much-prolonged magnet charging time. To address this issue, we investigate vanadium oxide (VOx) coatings as a temperature-dependent self-switching medium that automatically manages current sharing. VOx coatings (with 1.70 ≤ × ≤ to 2.07) were deposited by reactive cathodic arc deposition, initially on insulating glass to determine the electrical properties, and later on commercial REBCO tapes. The coatings are x-ray amorphous but with a short-range crystalline ordering according to Raman spectrometry. The resistivity of VOx decreased by at least three orders of magnitude when the temperature increased from 80 to 300 K. The coating process is compatible with commercial REBCO tapes as evidenced by the negligible change in the critical current caused by the coating process. The results from current sharing experiments and circuit analysis suggest that the VOx coating can effectively self-regulate current sharing in REBCO magnets, suppress excessive eddy currents, and enable self-protection during quenches.



  • Zhenghuai Yang, Aurora Cecilia Araujo Martínez, Sachin V. Muley, Xiaorong Wang, Qing Ji, and André Anders, Vanadium oxide coatings to self-regulate current sharing in high-temperature superconducting cables and magnets, Journal of Applied Physics 128, 055105 (2020);

  • A. C. A. Martínez, Q. Ji, S. O. Prestemon, X. Wang and G. H. I. Maury Cuna, An Electric-Circuit Model on the Inter-Tape Contact Resistance and Current Sharing for REBCO Cable and Magnet Applications, IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 1-5, (2020). doi: 10.1109/TASC.2020.2972215.