ENHANCEMENT OF SUPERCONDUCTIVITY FAR ABOVE THE CRITICAL-TEMPERATURE IN DOUBLE-BARRIER TUNNEL-JUNCTIONS

DR HESLINGA*, TM KLAPWIJK

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    58 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Motivated by the observation of a superconducting energy gap far above the equilibrium critical temperature T(c) in an Al film forming the center electrode of a Nb/AlO(x)/Al/AlO(x)/Nb structure we analyze the mechanism of gap enhancement in symmetric double-barrier superconducting tunnel junctions. It is found that such structures are very effective in creating a nonthermal distribution of quasiparticles in the middle electrode. At certain bias conditions this leads, according to the BCS gap equation, to the appearance of a nonzero superconducting energy gap even at temperatures up to several times the equilibrium T(c). So the double-barrier arrangement offers the remarkable possibility of making a material become superconducting by applying a voltage or passing a current. Calculated current-voltage characteristics exhibit current steps at voltages eV=2(DELTA(Nb)-DELTA(Al)) and eV=2(DELTA(Nb)+DELTA(Al)) in agreement with measured curves. Calculations of the thermodynamic stability of the nonequilibrium superconducting state indicate the possibility of hysteresis effects around these current steps.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5157-5164
    Number of pages8
    JournalPhysical Review. B: Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
    Volume47
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 1-Mar-1993

    Keywords

    • AL

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