High critical field NbC superconductor on carbon spheres
Niobium carbide (NbC) nanoparticles embedded on the surface of carbon spheres (CS) were synthesized at 1350 °C by the carbothermal reduction of niobium oxide precursor in flowing argon (Nbc@CS). The morphology, crystal structure, and magnetic properties of the hybrid nanocomposite were investigated by means of electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and a superconducting quantum interference device. It was found that the NbC@CS nanocomposites exhibit type-II superconductivity with a critical temperature (Tc) of 8–12 K, typical for stoichiometric NbC. The superconducting hysteresis loop reveals several interesting traits, including strong vortex pinning, the presence of asymmetry and a high penetration field. Moreover, the sample shows much improved irreversible (Hirr), lower (Hc1) and upper (Hc2) critical fields. The coherence length (ξ), penetration depth (λ), and Ginzburg–Landau (κ) parameters for the sample were estimated to be 9.78 nm, 33 nm and 3.39, respectively.