A process of preparing superconducting magnesium diboride powder by heating an admixture of solid magnesium and amorphous boron powder or pellet under an inert atmosphere in a Mg:B ratio of greater than about 0.6:1 at temperatures and for time sufficient to form said superconducting magnesium diboride. The process can further include exposure to residual oxygen at high synthesis temperatures followed by slow cooling. In the cooling process oxygen atoms dissolved into MgB.sub.2 segregated to form nanometer-sized coherent Mg(B,O) precipitates in the MgB.sub.2 matrix, which can act as flux pinning centers.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL RIGHTS
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.