SUPERCONDUCTING RADIO FREQUENCY MATERIALS SCIENCE THROUGH NEAR-FIELD MAGNETIC MICROSCOPY
Oripov, Bakhrom Gafurovich
Anlage, Steven M
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Superconducing Radio-Frequency (SRF) cavities are the backbone of a new generation of particle accelerators used by the high energy physics community. Nowadays, the applications of SRF cavities have expanded far beyond the needs of basic science. The proposed usages include waste treatment, water disinfection, material strengthening, medical applications and even use as high-Q resonators in quantum computers. A practical SRF cavity needs to operate at extremely high rf fields while remaining in the low-loss superconducting state. State of the art Nb cavities can easily reach quality factors Q>2x10^10 at 1.3 GHz. Currently, the performance of the SRF cavities is limited by surface defects which lead to cavity breakdown at high accelerating gradients. Also, there are efforts to reduce the cost of manufacturing SRF cavities, and the cost of operation. This will require an R&D effort to go beyond bulk Nb cavities. Alternatives to bulk Nb are Nb-coated Copper and Nb3Sn cavities. When a new SRF surface treatment, coating technique, or surface optimization method is being tested, it is usually very costly and time consuming to fabricate a full cavity. A rapid rf characterization technique is needed to identify deleterious defects on Nb surfaces and to compare the surface response of materials fabricated by different surface treatments. In this thesis a local rf characterization technique that could fulfill this requirement is presented. First, a scanning magnetic microwave microscopy technique was used to study SRF grade Nb samples. Using this novel microscope the existence of surface weak-links was confirmed through their local nonlinear response. Time-Dependent Ginzburg-Landau (TDGL) simulations were used to reveal that vortex semiloops are created by the inhomogenious magnetic field of the magnetic probe, and contribute to the measured response. Also, a system was put in place to measure the surface resistance of SRF cavities at extremely low temperatures, down to T=70 mK, where the predictions for the surface resistance from various theoretical models diverge. SRF cavities require special treatment during the cooldown and measurement. This includes cooling the cavity down at a rate greater than 1K/minute, and very low ambient magnetic field B<50 nT. I present solutions to both of these challenges.