Advances in Nb3Sn superconducting radiofrequency cavities towards first practical accelerator applications

S. Posen*, J. Lee, D. N. Seidman, A. Romanenko, B. Tennis, O. S. Melnychuk, D. A. Sergatskov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Nb3Sn is a promising next-generation material for superconducting radiofrequency cavities, with significant potential for both large scale and compact accelerator applications. However, so far, Nb3Sn cavities have been limited to continuous wave accelerating fields <18 MV m−1. In this paper, new results are presented with significantly higher fields, as high as 24 MV m−1 in single cell cavities. Results are also presented from the first ever Nb3Sn-coated 1.3 GHz 9-cell cavity, a full-scale demonstration on the cavity type used in production for the European XFEL and LCLS-II. Results are presented together with heat dissipation curves to emphasize the potential for industrial accelerator applications using cryocooler-based cooling systems. The cavities studied have an atypical shiny visual appearance, and microscopy studies of witness samples reveal significantly reduced surface roughness and smaller film thickness compared to typical Nb3Sn films for superconducting cavities. Possible mechanisms for increased maximum field are discussed as well as implications for physics of RF superconductivity in the low coherence length regime. Outlook for continued development is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number025007
JournalSuperconductor Science and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • NbSn
  • Particle accelerators
  • Superconducting radiofrequency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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