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Condens. Matter 2017, 2(2), 21; doi:10.3390/condmat2020021

Time-Correlated Vortex Tunneling in Layered Superconductors

Department of Physics and Texas Center for Superconductivity, University of Houston, 4800 Calhoun Road, Houston, TX 77204-5005, USA
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Received: 23 May 2017 / Revised: 13 June 2017 / Accepted: 15 June 2017 / Published: 17 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Layered Superconductors)
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Abstract

The nucleation and dynamics of Josephson and Abrikosov vortices determine the critical currents of layered high-Tc superconducting (HTS) thin films, grain boundaries, and coated conductors, so understanding their mechanisms is of crucial importance. Here, we treat pair creation of Josephson and Abrikosov vortices in layered superconductors as a secondary Josephson effect. Each full vortex is viewed as a composite fluid of micro-vortices, such as pancake vortices, which tunnel coherently via a tunneling matrix element. We introduce a two-terminal magnetic (Weber) blockade effect that blocks tunneling when the applied current is below a threshold value. We simulate vortex tunneling as a dynamic, time-correlated process when the current is above threshold. The model shows nearly precise agreement with voltage-current (V-I) characteristics of HTS cuprate grain boundary junctions, which become more concave rounded as temperature decreases, and also explains the piecewise linear V-I behavior observed in iron-pnictide bicrystal junctions and other HTS devices. When applied to either Abrikosov or Josephson pair creation, the model explains a plateau seen in plots of critical current vs. thickness of HTS-coated conductors. The observed correlation between theory and experiment strongly supports the proposed quantum picture of vortex nucleation and dynamics in layered superconductors. View Full-Text
Keywords: layered superconductor; thin film; superconducting properties; flux vortex; Josephson vortex; Abrikosov vortex; Josephson junction; quantum tunneling; soliton; grain boundary layered superconductor; thin film; superconducting properties; flux vortex; Josephson vortex; Abrikosov vortex; Josephson junction; quantum tunneling; soliton; grain boundary
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Miller, J.H., Jr.; Villagrán, M.Y.S. Time-Correlated Vortex Tunneling in Layered Superconductors. Condens. Matter 2017, 2, 21.

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