The invention relates to an article with an improved buffer layer architecture comprising a substrate having a metal surface, and an epitaxial buffer layer on the surface of the substrate. The epitaxial buffer layer comprises at least one of the group consisting of ZrO.sub.2, HfO.sub.2, and compounds having at least one of Ca and a rare earth element stabilizing cubic phases of ZrO.sub.2 and/or HfO.sub.2. The article can also include a superconducting layer deposited on the epitaxial buffer layer. The article can also include an epitaxial capping layer between the epitaxial buffer layer and the superconducting layer. A method for preparing an epitaxial article comprises providing a substrate with a metal surface, depositing on the metal surface an epitaxial buffer layer comprising at least one material selected from the group consisting of ZrO.sub.2, HfO.sub.2, and compounds having at least one of Ca and a rare earth element stabilizing cubic phases of at least one of ZrO.sub.2 and HfO.sub.2. The epitaxial layer depositing step occurs in a vacuum with a background pressure of no more than 1.times.10.sup.-5 Torr. The method can further comprise depositing a superconducting layer on the epitaxial layer, and depositing an epitaxial capping layer between the epitaxial buffer layer and the superconducting layer.
 This invention was made with government support under contract no. DEAC05-96OR22464, awarded by the United States Department of Energy to Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation, and the United States has certain rights in this invention.