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Title: Laser polishing of niobium for superconducting radio-frequency accelerator applications

Abstract

Interior surfaces of niobium cavities used in superconducting radio frequency accelerators are now obtained by buffered chemical polish and/or electropolish. Laser polishing is a potential alternative, having advantages of speed, freedom from noxious chemistry and availability of in-process inspection. We studied the influence of the laser power density and laser beam raster rate on the surface topography. These two factors need to be combined carefully to smooth the surface without damage. Computational modeling was used to estimate the surface temperature and gain insight into the mechanism of laser polishing. Power spectral density analysis of surface topography measurements shows that laser polishing can produce smooth topography similar to that obtained by electropolish. This is a necessary first step toward introducing laser polishing as an alternative to the currently practiced chemical polishing.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [2]
  1. William and Mary College
  2. JLAB
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, Newport News, VA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1150700
Report Number(s):
JLAB-ACC-14-1927; DOE/OR/23177-3166
Journal ID: ISSN 1098--4402
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-06OR23177
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Phys. Rev. ST Accel. Beams; Journal Volume: 17; Journal Issue: 08
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Zhao, Liang, Klopf, John M., Reece, Charles E., and Kelley, Michael J.. Laser polishing of niobium for superconducting radio-frequency accelerator applications. United States: N. p., 2014. Web. doi:10.1103/PhysRevSTAB.17.083502.
Zhao, Liang, Klopf, John M., Reece, Charles E., & Kelley, Michael J.. Laser polishing of niobium for superconducting radio-frequency accelerator applications. United States. doi:10.1103/PhysRevSTAB.17.083502.
Zhao, Liang, Klopf, John M., Reece, Charles E., and Kelley, Michael J.. Fri . "Laser polishing of niobium for superconducting radio-frequency accelerator applications". United States. doi:10.1103/PhysRevSTAB.17.083502.
@article{osti_1150700,
title = {Laser polishing of niobium for superconducting radio-frequency accelerator applications},
author = {Zhao, Liang and Klopf, John M. and Reece, Charles E. and Kelley, Michael J.},
abstractNote = {Interior surfaces of niobium cavities used in superconducting radio frequency accelerators are now obtained by buffered chemical polish and/or electropolish. Laser polishing is a potential alternative, having advantages of speed, freedom from noxious chemistry and availability of in-process inspection. We studied the influence of the laser power density and laser beam raster rate on the surface topography. These two factors need to be combined carefully to smooth the surface without damage. Computational modeling was used to estimate the surface temperature and gain insight into the mechanism of laser polishing. Power spectral density analysis of surface topography measurements shows that laser polishing can produce smooth topography similar to that obtained by electropolish. This is a necessary first step toward introducing laser polishing as an alternative to the currently practiced chemical polishing.},
doi = {10.1103/PhysRevSTAB.17.083502},
journal = {Phys. Rev. ST Accel. Beams},
number = 08,
volume = 17,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2014},
month = {Fri Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2014}
}
  • Superconducting radio frequency niobium cavities are at the heart of an increasing number of particle accelerators. Their performance is dominated by a several nanometer thick layer at the interior surface. Maximizing the smoothness of this surface is critical, and aggressive chemical treatments are now employed to this end. The authors describe laser-induced surface melting as an alternative 'greener' approach. Selection of laser parameters guided by modeling achieved melting that reduced the surface roughness from the fabrication process. The resulting topography was examined by scanning electron microscope and atomic force microscope (AFM). Plots of power spectral density computed from the AFMmore » data give further insight into the effect of laser melting on the topography of the mechanically polished (only) niobium.« less
  • Recent research has shown that choline chloride (vitamin B4)-based solutions can be used as a greener alternative to acid-based electrochemical polishing solutions. This study demonstrated a successful method for electrochemical deposition of niobium compounds onto the surface of copper substrates using a novel choline chloride-based ionic liquid. Niobium ions present in the ionic liquid solution were dissolved into the solution prior to deposition via electrochemical polishing of solid niobium. A black coating was clearly visible on the surface of the Cu following deposition. This coating was analyzed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), electron dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), atomic force microscopymore » (AFM), and X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF). This ionic liquid-based electrochemical deposition method effectively recycles previously dissolved niobium from electrochemical polishing of superconducting radio frequency (SRF) cavities.« less
  • Niobium cavities are important components in modern particle accelerators based on superconducting radio frequency (SRF) technology. The interior of SRF cavities are cleaned and polished in order to produce high accelerating field and low power dissipation on the cavity wall. Current polishing methods, buffered chemical polishing (BCP) and electro-polishing (EP), have their advantages and limitations. We seek to improve current methods and explore laser polishing (LP) as a greener alternative of chemical methods. The topography and removal rate of BCP at different conditions (duration, temperature, sample orientation, flow rate) was studied with optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and electronmore » backscatter diffraction (EBSD). Differential etching on different crystal orientations is the main contributor to fine grain niobium BCP topography, with gas evolution playing a secondary role. The surface of single crystal and bi-crystal niobium is smooth even after heavy BCP. The topography of fine grain niobium depends on total removal. The removal rate increases with temperature and surface acid flow rate within the rage of 0~20 °C, with chemical reaction being the possible dominate rate control mechanism. Surface flow helps to regulate temperature and avoid gas accumulation on the surface. The effect of surface flow rate on niobium EP was studied with optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and power spectral density (PSD) analysis. Within the range of 0~3.7 cm/s, no significant difference was found on the removal rate and the macro roughness. Possible improvement on the micro roughness with increased surface flow rate was observed. The effect of fluence and pulse accumulation on niobium topography during LP was studied with optical microscopy, SEM, AFM, and PSD analysis. Polishing on micro scale was achieved within fluence range of 0.57~0.90 J/cm2, with pulse accumulation adjusted accordingly. Larger area treatment was proved possible by overlapping laser tracks at proper ratio. Comparison of topography and PSD indicates that LP smooths the surface in a way similar to EP. The optimized LP parameters were applied to different types of niobium surfaces representing different stages in cavity fabrication. LP reduces the sharpness on rough surfaces effectively, while doing no harm to smooth surfaces. Secondary ion mass spectrometer (SIMS) analysis showed that LP reduces the oxide layer slightly and no contamination occurred from LP. EBSD showed no significant change on crystal structure after LP.« less
  • As superconducting niobium radio-frequency (SRF) cavities approach fundamental material limits, there is increased interest in understanding the details of topographical influences on realized performance limitations. Micro- and nano-roughness are implicated in both direct geometrical field enhancements as well as complications of the composition of the 50 nm surface layer in which the super-currents typically flow. Interior surface chemical treatments such as buffered chemical polishing (BCP) and electropolishing (EP) used to remove mechanical damage leave surface topography, including pits and protrusions of varying sharpness. These may promote RF magnetic field entry, locally quenching superconductivity, so as to degrade cavity performance. Amore » more incisive analysis of surface topography than the widely used average roughness is needed. In this study, a power spectral density (PSD) approach based on Fourier analysis of surface topography data acquired by both stylus profilometry and atomic force microscopy (AFM) is introduced to distinguish the scale-dependent smoothing effects, resulting in a novel qualitative and quantitative description of Nb surface topography. The topographical evolution of the Nb surface as a function of different steps of well-controlled EP is discussed. This study will greatly help to identify optimum EP parameter sets for controlled and reproducible surface levelling of Nb for cavity production.« less