The thermodynamic stability of MgO-doped Nd1+xBa2-xCu3Oy (x = 0-0.5) has been investigated as a function of solid solution level (x) under various oxygen partial pressures for use as a seed crystal composition in the melt growth of (LRE)-Ba-Cu-O (where LRE = light rare earth) bulk superconductors. The gradient of decomposition temperature, Tp, against solid solution level increases significantly with decreasing oxygen partial pressure, indicating that MgO-doped Nd-Ba-Cu-O (NdBCO) seed crystals should be grown under reduced pO2 to obtain seeds with high Tp. Based on these results, the optimum cold-seeded processing conditions for the fabrication of single grain GdBCO bulk superconductors containing silver (GdBCO/Ag) under a controlled oxygen partial pressure of 0.01 atm have been determined. The onset Tc of GdBCO/Ag samples grown in air with the optimized seed crystal composition is improved significantly with increasing Ag content, indicating that silver addition to the precursor powder suppresses the formation of Gd-Ba solid solution.
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