Huge critical current density and tailored superconducting anisotropy in SmFeAsO0.8F0.15 by low-density columnar-defect incorporation
Iron-based superconductors could be useful for electricity distribution and superconducting magnet applications because of their relatively high critical current densities and upper critical fields. SmFeAsO0.8F0.15 is of particular interest as it has the highest transition temperature among these materials. Here we show that by introducing a low density of correlated nano-scale defects into this material by heavy-ion irradiation, we can increase its critical current density to up to 2 x 10(7) A cm(-2) at 5 K-the highest ever reported for an iron-based superconductor-without reducing its critical temperature of 50 K. We also observe a notable reduction in the thermodynamic superconducting anisotropy, from 8 to 4 upon irradiation. We develop a model based on anisotropic electron scattering that predicts that the superconducting anisotropy can be tailored via correlated defects in semimetallic, fully gapped type II superconductors.