Date Awarded

Summer 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Rosa A Lukaszew

Committee Member

Todd Averett

Committee Member

Mumtaz Qazilbash

Committee Member

Enrico Rossi

Committee Member

Charles E Reece


Bulk niobium (Nb) superconducting radio frequency (SRF) cavities are currently the preferred method for acceleration of charged particles at accelerating facilities around the world. However, bulk Nb cavities have poor thermal conductance, impose material and design restrictions on other components of a particle accelerator, have low reproducibility and are approaching the fundamental material-dependent accelerating field limit of approximately 50MV/m. Since the SRF phenomena occurs at surfaces within a shallow depth of ~1 µm, a proposed solution to this problem has been to utilize thin film technology to deposit superconducting thin films on the interior of cavities to engineer the active SRF surface in order to achieve cavities with enhanced properties and performance. Two proposed thin film applications for SRF cavities are: 1) Nb thin films coated on bulk cavities made of suitable castable metals (such as copper or aluminum) and 2) multilayer films designed to increase the accelerating gradient and performance of SRF cavities. While Nb thin films on copper (Cu) cavities have been attempted in the past using DC magnetron sputtering (DCMS), such cavities have never performed at the bulk Nb level. However, new energetic condensation techniques for film deposition, such as High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering (HiPIMS), offer the opportunity to create suitably thick Nb films with improved density, microstructure and adhesion compared to traditional DCMS. Clearly use of such novel technique requires fundamental studies to assess surface evolution and growth modes during deposition and resulting microstructure and surface morphology and the correlation with RF superconducting properties. Here we present detailed structure-property correlative research studies done on Nb/Cu thin films and NbN- and NbTiN-based multilayers made using HiPIMS and DCMS, respectively.



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