Experimental research on electric field jump in low magnetic fields: Detection of damage in new ex-situ MgB2 barriers in MgB2 wires
We explored the incorporation of field sweep (constant current and rapidly increasing magnetic field) into the four-probe method as a new technique to detect defects in barrier layers in superconducting MgB2 wires. This method allows us to observe jumps in the electric field in low magnetic fields. The scanning electron microscopy results indicate that such a jump originates from cracks in Nb barriers and ex-situ MgB2 barriers. Our research indicates that the field sweep allows us to detect damage to barriers that are made of superconducting materials. This method can be the basis for an industrial method for detecting damages in MgB2 wires. These defects reduce the critical current of MgB2 wire. Detection and removal of these defects will allow us to produce MgB2 wires with ex-situ MgB2 and Nb barriers that will have improved critical current density. Manufacturing of MgB2 wires with new ex-situ MgB2 barriers is a new technological concept. This type of barrier is cheaper and easier to manufacture, leading to cheaper MgB2 wires. Moreover, we show that critical current can be measured by two methods: current sweep (constant magnetic field and quickly increasing current) and field sweep.