Reference : Ultra-narrow superconducting junctions fabricated by controlled electromigration
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Unpublished conference/Abstract
Physical, chemical, mathematical & earth Sciences : Physics
http://hdl.handle.net/2268/199498
Ultra-narrow superconducting junctions fabricated by controlled electromigration
English
Silhanek, Alejandro mailto [Université de Liège > Département de physique > Physique expérimentale des matériaux nanostructurés >]
12-Apr-2016
Yes
Yes
International
Probing Superconductivity at Nanoscale: New Advances
Du 12 avril au 15 avril 2016
Saas-Fee
Suisse
[en] Superconducting nanowires have been, for years now, a topic of great interest due to their potential application in single photon detectors and in quantum computing circuits. In this context, it is of fundamental importance to better understand the undesired and harmful appearance of thermal and quantum fluctuations of the superconducting order parameter as a function of the wire width.

Although superconductors in the mesoscopic regime (i.e. size comparable to ξ and/or λ) have been explored both experimentally and theoretically in depth, the superconducting nanoworld (i.e. at scales of the fermi wavelength) has received much less attention. The lack of experimental results is in part due to the difficulty of sample fabrication, at dimensions beyond the limit reached by conventional lithographic techniques. A promising direction consists of controlling the local displacement of atoms by an electron wind, a process known as electromigration (EM). This effect relies on the combination of local temperature rise and substantial current crowding at nanoconstrictions. While uncontrolled, EM is responsible for the breakdown of small electronic devices, it can be used in a controllable way to further decrease locally the cross section of the nanowire towards single atomic contacts.

In this work, we explore in-situ controlled EM to fabricate nano-constrictions immersed in cryogenic environment. We demonstrate that a transition from thermally assisted phase slips (TAPS) to quantum phase slips (QPS) takes place when the effective cross section becomes smaller than ~ 150 nm^2. In the regime dominated by QPS the nanowire loses completely its capacity to carry current without dissipation, even at the lowest possible temperature. We also demonstrate that the bow-tie shaped constrictions exhibit a negative magnetoresistance at low magnetic fields which can be attributed to the suppression of superconductivity in the contact leads. Strikingly, the detrimental effect caused by the repeated EM can be healed by simply inverting the current direction. These findings reveal the strong potential of the proposed fabrication method to explore various fascinating superconducting phenomena in atomic-size constrictions.
Researchers
http://hdl.handle.net/2268/199498

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