Superconducting Film Coatings

Alameda Applied Sciences Corp has developed a proprietary Coaxial Energetic Deposition (CEDTM) process that provides better adhesion than conventional deposition methods, and denser, higher quality films with fewer voids and impurities. AASC uses CED to deposit Nb, MgB2 and other superconducting thin films inside RF cavities for advanced accelerators. CED uses energetic ion deposition & plasma immersion ion implantation in coaxial, planar, and complex substrates for advanced surface modification. Energetic ions (20 eV to 200 eV) interact with the first few monolayers of the substrate to break up voids and columnar microstructures.

Coaxial Energetic Deposition in Action

Applications

There are over 17,000 radio frequency (RF) accelerators in the world today, most of which are used in medicine and industry. If superconducting RF (SRF) technology were to replace normal conducting RF technology, an energy savings of 1000× could be realized. However, existing, <10 K temperature SRF technology has not yet matched the reliable operation and maturity of normal RF technology. Further cost savings can be achieved if higher temperature superconductors were to be implemented. For example, an 8 K increase in operating temperature would cut operating costs in half and would make SRF technology more attractive for commercial applications.

AASC has also explored CEDTM deposition of thin films on the inside of the high value tubes required in ethylene cracking furnaces. Ethylene and other olefins are cracked in large furnaces. Cracking ethylene leads to carbon based soot commonly called coke that can clog the furnace tubes. The furnaces must shutdown periodically to clean the tubes. The cost of yearly maintenance of furnaces for coke build exceeds $1B/year worldwide. AASC has already demonstrated that CED ceramic coatings can increase the time between shutdowns, thus improving the capacity factor of the furnaces.

Specifications

  • Produces dense films from a few nanometers thick to many microns thick
  • Deposits metals and alloys (Nb, MgB2, Nb3Sn, Mo3Re, Al2O3)
  • Creates films with low pinhole defect density
  • Creates strong adhesion via stress relief and substrate/film inter-mixing