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The Center for Bright Beams, A National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center

Studies of Nb3Sn film growth via vapor diffusion

a close-up of different niobium-3 tin growth stages.

Nb3Sn is currently the most promising material for higher performance accelerator cavities, with potential to nearly halve the length and double the operating temperature of future linear accelerators. However, unlocking this potential requires removing defects in the grown material. Studies of Nb3Sn film growth via vapor diffusion illuminate how and why material defects form in Nb3Sn. Current studies demonstrate why thick oxides layers prevent 'thin region' defects in grown material.

TEM cross-sections of Nb3Sn growth on Nb. More in caption.

six images showing growth stages of niobium-3 tin, either non-preanodized or preanodized at nucleation, 800 degrees Celsius and 875 degrees Celsius.

TEM cross-sections of Nb3Sn growth on Nb at different stages of the coating process (growth over time), with (bottom) and without (top) a thick initial oxide layer on the niobium substrate. These cross-sections show Sn gathering on the Nb surface (left), turned into lumps Nb-Sn compounds (middle), and formed into thin a layer of Nb3Sn (right). We can learn a lot about growth processes from 'snapshots' like these.