The critical current densities of superconducting thin films and their dependence on the film structural characteristics has been a major research interest for more than a decade. Controlling this relationship is crucial if large-scale high-quality YBa 2 Cu 3 O 7 (YBCO) tapes are to be produced. Two major keystones of information have been established in this field. Firstly, there is a direct relationship between the critical current density and the grain-boundary angle in polycrystalline YBCO films. Grain boundaries with a mismatch angle higher than 5° usually result in reduced critical current densities. This detrimental effect of large-angle grain boundaries to the quality of YBCO films has been attributed to strain fields resulting from such grain boundaries. Secondly, the quality of the YBCO film can be enhanced by straining its lattice in specific direction. Here, we report, for the first time, direct experimental results coupling local grain orientation and local strain maps of thin YBCO films deposited on a (001) biaxially textured nickel substrate. These results were correlated to the quality of the film and showed how grain structure in the nickel substrate affects the grain structure in the YBCO films even in the presence of several buffer layers. More importantly, the data show that highquality films with high critical current densities can be produced, in spite of large-angle grain boundaries, if the film is compressed in the range of 0.5% strain normal to the a axis.
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