The 90 K superconductor, YBa2Cu3Oδ (YBCO), has proved to be highly adaptable chemically as it can accommodate a wide variety of cationic and anionic substitutions. Indeed, the majority of the chemical elements, excluding noble gases and actinides, have been reported to substitute to some extent into the YBCO structure. This review covers the literature on such substitutions and their effect on the properties of YBCO. Reported solubility limits are given, together with crystal symmetry and trends in unit cell parameters with dopant concentration. The dopant site is considered; this is additionally complex in the case of copper substitution because of the two distinct copper sites in the crystal structure. The effect of the dopant on the critical temperature, Tc, is reviewed; the literature is often contradictory due to the dual effects of variable oxygen content and the nature of the dopant. Preparation methods appear to have an effect on solubility limits, crystal symmetry and Tc. Also, the methods used to determine solubility limits are often imprecise which can lead to contradictions. The magnetic properties of doped materials are reviewed; for some dopants, particularly the magnetic lanthanides, antiferromagnetism and superconductivity co-exist. The related RBa2Cu3Oδ phases (R = lanthanide), their structure, properties and behaviour on doping are reviewed in a similar way. For the larger rare earths, the related systems R1+xBa2-xCu3Oδ are reviewed; as x increases, the transition temperature decreases and compositions R1.5Ba1.5Cu3Oδ are semiconducting. The upper and lower solubility limit changes with R, and for R = Dy, the upper limit is < 0.1 whereas for La, the x = 0 composition, LaBa2Cu3Oδ, cannot be prepared in air since substitution of La onto the Ba site occurs, forming the Ba-deficient solid solutions. The discovery of superconductivity above liquid nitrogen temperatures in YBa2Cu3O7 has generated a vast quantity of research; to date, > 20 000 papers have appeared on the 123 materials (source: BIDS). This review, therefore, cannot be comprehensive, but attempts to highlight important substitutions, their effect on the properties of YBCO and any contradictions in the literature.
- Cationic and anionic substitutions
- Crystal chemical substitutions
- Magnetic lanthanides
- Properties of YBCO