Microscopic role of carbon on MgB2 wire for critical current density comparable to NbTi

Jung Ho Kim, Sangjun Oh, Yoon Uk Heo, Satoshi Hata, Hiroaki Kumakura, Akiyoshi Matsumoto, Masatoshi Mitsuhara, Seyong Choi, Yusuke Shimada, Minoru Maeda, Judith L. MacManus-Driscoll, Shi Xue Dou

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129 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing dissipation-free supercurrent has been the primary issue for practical application of superconducting wires. For magnesium diboride, MgB 2, carbon is known to be the most effective dopant to enhance high-field properties. However, the critical role of carbon remains elusive, and also low-field critical current density has not been improved. Here, we have undertaken malic acid doping of MgB2 and find that the microscopic origin for the enhancement of high-field properties is due to boron vacancies and associated stacking faults, as observed by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy and electron energy loss spectroscopy. The carbon from the malic acid almost uniformly encapsulates boron, preventing boron agglomeration and reducing porosity, as observed by three-dimensional X-ray tomography. The critical current density either exceeds or matches that of niobium titanium at 4.2 K. Our findings provide atomic-level insights, which could pave the way to further enhancement of the critical current density of MgB2 up to the theoretical limit.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3
JournalNPG Asia Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan 18


  • 3D tomogram
  • carbon role
  • densification
  • MgB
  • TEM


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