Quick Fact - STI's RCE-CDR process is simple, repeatable and commercially proven.
The Conductus® Superconducting Wire Manufacturing Process Explained
Conductus® superconducting wire manufacturing approach utilizes simplified, layered wire architecture, designed to scale with high yield and commercial volumes. Conductus® wire architecture consists of three key manufacturing processes. First, a commercial-grade stainless steel or hastelloy template is passed through a solution deposition planarization (SDP) process. Next, the template proceeds through an Ion Beam Assisted Deposition (IBAD) process in order to produce a template with the right surface conditions. Then, the High Temperature Superconducting (HTS) materials are deposited onto the template using Conductus® proprietary Reactive Co-evaporation Cyclic Deposition and Reaction (RCE-CDR) HTS deposition.
SDP – Solution Deposition Planarization
The SDP process is a repeated wet dip/thermal anneal coating that simultaneously prevents metallic migration and provides a nanometer-level smooth, amorphous coating surrounding the metallic foil substrate. The SDP multi-layer ceramic coating is the lowest cost and highest throughput method for preparing substrates for subsequent superconducting film growth.
IBAD – Ion Beam Assisted Deposition
The IBAD process deposits perfectly oriented cubic oxides onto the SDP-coated substrates by means of energetic plasma that simultaneously deposits and etches away unwanted materials, leaving only a correct alignment of atoms on the substrate surface for the superconducting film growth. After completion of this step the metal foil substrate is called a ‘template’ for superconductor film deposition.
Slitting – Customized Template Sizing
Each template is processed in widths of up to 100mm, exceeding the industry-standard of 12mm, giving the SDP and IBAD process equipment significant advantages in capacity. Using a standardized foil slitting technique, customers can request a variety of widths for their specific applications.
RCE-CDR – Reactive Co-evaporation and Cyclic Deposition Reaction
The RCE-CDR process grows a Rare Earth, Barium, Copper Oxide (ReBCO) superconductor film onto the flexible template produced in the SDP and IBAD processes. This process is complex, requiring accurate temperature, uniform pressure, precise ratios of elements and the presence of oxidizing atmospheres to grow high performance superconducting materials. The RCE-CDR system is scaled for large batch operation to insure every portion of superconducting wire has uniform material properties. Our RCE-CDR process yields very high quality superconducting wire to maximize current carrying performance.
STI Receives and installs NEW vacuum deposition chamber
Finishing & Shipping
Subsequent to the RCE-CDR superconducting growth, a cap layer of silver (or copper depending on the application) of 1-50µm is applied in-situ to protect the wire. In some applications additional cap layers may be added, including copper, silver or brass. All superconducting wire manufactured by STI is qualified for current-carrying uniformity, homogeneity and specified mechanical properties. The powerful combination of the SDP, IBAD, & RCE-CDR processes gives STI the ability to manufacture high quality superconducting wire with a simple and scalable technique.
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