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Special Seminar

Processing of High-Performance Coated Conductors: A Challenge for Basic R&D

Prof. Herbert C. Freyhardt

by: Prof. Herbert C. Freyhardt

Date: Friday April 21, 2006

Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Location: Houston Science Center – Building 593 — Room 102

Overview

YBaCuO or REBaCuO coated conductors (CC) based on polycrystalline Ni-Cr alloys / stainless steel (SS) and thermomechanically treated (RABiTS) substrates are processed to exhibit high critical and engineering current densities. Both vacuum and non-vacuum technologies are employed to coat the substrate tapes with single/multilayer buffers, HTS films and conductive/protective overlayers. It was our goal to develop vacuum-technological methods with particular efforts on ion-beam assisted deposition (IBAD) of YSZ and pulsed laser deposition (PLD) of the HTS, where conductor architectures SS / IBAD-YSZ / CeO2 / PLD-YBCO yielded conductors with attractive critical current densities in the HTS over 3 MA/cm2 as well as Ic · L values up to 9400 (A/cm-w) · m in reproducibly processed and robust 40m-long CC.

Whereas the technological challenge is to reliably fabricate long lengths of robust CC, with specifications determined by the respective application, the supporting knowledge base and an advanced basic understanding will enable us to control (i) the growth of multilayers with their interfaces, (ii) the mechanical and electromechanical properties of CC, (iii) current flow in the HTS film and through grain boundaries, as well as (iv) flux pinning in the HTS layer.

The contribution intends to highlight progress in fundamental R&D as a basis to reliably manufacture second-generation wires.

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Special Seminar

Zintl Phases as High Efficiency Thermoelectric Materials

by: Dr. Jeff Snyder

Date: Monday April 10, 2006

Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Location: Houston Science Center – Building 593 — Room 102

Overview

An efficient thermoelectric material requires the combination of high electronic density of states with high electrical conductivity in combination with low thermal conductivity. Simple semiconductors can have electronic properties suitable for a thermoelectric material but often have high thermal conductivity. Amorphous conductors can have complex crystal structures for low thermal conductivity but also have broad electronic bands unsuitable for thermoelectrics. The ideal thermoelectric material has a complex, even disordered, structure at multiple Angstrom and nanometer length scales to scatter phonons, but also a covalently bonded network that provides high mobility, and heavy mass charge carriers. In addition, like high temperature superconductors, thermoelectrics require precise doping of electronic concentration without disrupting charge carrier pathways. Zintl phases are ideally suited for thermoelectrics because they can provide complex structures within a semiconducting framework that include ionic regions for doping. Examples of this principle in action are evident in the high thermoelectric figure of merit materials, Zn4Sb3, Yb14MnSb11 and the Skutterudites.

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Special Seminar

Single-Photon Optical Detectors Based on Superconducting Nanostructures

by: Prof. Roman Sobolewski

Date: Friday April 07, 2006

Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Location: Houston Science Center – Building 593 — Room 102

Overview

We review the current state-of-the-art in the development of superconducting single-photon detectors and demonstrate their advantages over conventional semiconductor avalanche photodiodes in terms of very efficient and ultrafast counting capabilities of both visible-light and infrared photons. Superconducting single-photon detectors (SSPDs) are quantum photon counters and their detection mechanism is based on photon-induced hotspot formation and, subsequently, generation of a voltage transient across a nanostructured NbN meander (4-nm-thick and ~100-nm-wide stripe). They operate at 4.2-2 K temperature range. Our best, 10X10-μm2-area devices exhibit quantum efficiency of up to ~30% in the visible to 1550 nm wavelength range, dark counts <0.01 per second, and the noise-equivalent power (NEP) of 5x10-21 W/Hz.1/2 The 4x4-μm2-area detectors are characterized by >2-GHz photon counting rate and timing jitter of <18 ps. The SSPD structures can be directly coupled to a single-mode optical fiber, packaged in a standard transport helium dewar, and regarded as a room-temperature-like apparatus. The SSPDs have already been successfully applied in commercial testers for debugging of VLSI CMOS circuits and are currently being implemented for free-space satellite optical communication links and in fiber-based quantum key distribution (quantum cryptography) systems.

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Special Seminar

The approach for nanolayered semiconductor-on-insulator

by: Dr. Lin Shao

Date: Thursday April 06, 2006

Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Location: Houston Science Center – Building 593 — Room 102

Overview

The creation of ever higher density chips with faster speeds and lower power consumption is one of the major goals being persistently pursed by the microelectronics industry. Device integration on silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers offer a sustainable, long-term pathway for scaling various devices such as sensors, photodiodes, and most importantly, complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS). Fabrication of SOI wafers is typically performed using an ion-implantation-based technique in which implanted hydrogen atoms react with broken silicon bonds and create hydrogen-filled microcracks which can propagate in a direction parallel to the wafer surface. The top Si layer is then split apart and bonded to an oxide layer, to form SO1 wafers. However, there are technical challenges for the fabrication of nanolayered SO1 wafers, with the top Si layer less than 100 nm thick. We have recently developed novel approaches to transfer an ultrathin Si layer by using a buried strained layer or highly doped layer to provide H trapping centers during hydrogenation, with following advantages: 1) The crack location can be controlled by adjusting the position of the H-trapping layer; and 2) the crystalline quality of the transferred layer is greatly improved due to reduced irradiation damage. We have realized the lift-off of a Si layer with a thickness of 15 nm, which is not achievable by previous techniques. This talk will give an overview of the status and perspective of ion cutting techniques.

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Special Seminar

Colloids in External Fields: Crystallization, Melting, and Dynamics

by: Dr. Charles Reichhardt

Date: Monday April 03, 2006

Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Location: Houston Science Center – Building 593 — Room 102

Overview

Colloidal assemblies are ideal model systems in which to study basic equilibrium and non-equilibrium phenomena relevant to a wide range of condensed matter systems. Additionally, there are a variety of technological applications for self-organizing colloid structures, including photonic band gap materials and patterned nanostructures. Here we study the statics and dynamics of colloids interacting with external fields. When the fields are used to create a periodic substrate, we find a variety of novel crystalline states that we term "colloidal molecular crystals." These have interesting multi-step melting transitions and can be used to realize a variety of canonical statistical mechanics models physically. When the substrate is dynamic, we show that novel dynamical phases arise and lead to ratchet effects, which can be used to create new types of logic gates and new fractionation techniques. Many of these results have recently been realized experimentally for colloids interacting with periodic optical arrays.

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