A New High-Temperature Superconductor: Bi2Sr3-x Cax Cu2O8+y

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Science  26 Feb 1988:
Vol. 239, Issue 4843, pp. 1015-1017
DOI: 10.1126/science.239.4843.1015


A new superconductor that displays onset behavior near 120 K has been identified as Bi2Sr3-xCaxCu2O8+y, with x ranging from about 0.4 to 0.9. Single crystal x-ray diffraction data were used to determine a pseudo-tetragonal structure based on an A-centered orthorhombic subcell with a = 5.399 Å, b= 5.414Å, and c = 30.904 Å. The structure contains copper-oxygen sheets as in La2CuO4 and YBa2Cu3O7, but the copper-oxygen chains present in YBa2Cu3O7 do not occur in Bi2Sr3-xCaxCu2O8+y. The structure is made up of alternating double copper-oxygen sheets and double bismuth-oxygen sheets. There are Ca2+ and Sr2+ cations between the adjacent Cu-O sheets; Sr2+ cations are also found between the Cu-O and Bi-O sheets. Electron microscopy studies show an incommensurate superstructure along the a axis that can be approximated by an increase of a factor of 5 over the subcell dimension. This superstructure is also observed by x-ray diffraction on single crystals, but twinning can make it appear that the superstructure is along both a and b axes. Flux exclusion begins in our samples at about 116 K and is very strong by 95 K. Electrical measurements on a single crystal of Bi2Sr3-xCaxCu2O8+y show a resistivity drop at about 116 K and apparent zero resistivity at 91 K.