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Technological applications of high temperature superconductors (HTS) require high critical current density, Jc, under operation at high magnetic field strengths. This requires effective flux pinning by introducing artificial defects through creative processing. In this work, we evaluated the feasibility of mixed-phase LaMnO3:MgO (LMO:MgO) films as a potential cap buffer layer for the epitaxial growth and enhanced performance of YBa2Cu3O7-δ (YBCO) films. Such composite films were sputter deposited directly on IBAD-MgO templates (with no additional homo-epitaxial MgO layer) and revealed the formation of two phase-separated, but at the same time vertically aligned, self-assembled composite nanostructures that extend throughout the entire thickness of the film. The YBCO coatings deposited on these nanostructured cap layers showed correlated c-axis pinning and improved in-field Jc performance compared to those of YBCO films fabricated on standard LMO buffers. Microstructural characterization revealed additional extended disorder in the YBCO matrix. The present results demonstrate the feasibility of novel and potentially practical approaches in the pursuit of more efficient, economical, and high performance superconducting devices.
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