Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Magnesium Diboride Devices and Applications
by Melbourne, Thomas, Ph.D., Temple University, 2018, 141; 10689307
Abstract (Summary)

Magnesium diboride MgB2 is an interesting material that was discovered to be a superconductor in 2001. It has a remarkably high critical temperature of 39 K which is much greater than was previously thought possible for a phonon-mediated superconductor. MgB2 was also the first material found to exhibit multiple gap superconductivity. It has two energy gaps, the pi gap with a value of 2.3 meV, and the sigma gap with a value of 7.1 meV. Both the high critical temperature and the multiple large energy gaps make MgB2 an attractive candidate for superconducting devices. While the initial discovery of MgB2 was accompanied by much excitement, the enthusiasm has mostly disappeared due to the lack of progress made in implementing MgB2 in practical devices. The aim of this thesis is to attempt to reinvigorate interest in this remarkable material through a study of a variety of practical superconducting devices made with MgB2 thin films grown by hybrid physical-chemical vapor deposition (HPCVD).

Two different methods of fabricating MgB2 Josephson junctions are explored. The first is a sandwich type trilayer configuration with a barrier made by magnetron sputtered MgO. Junctions of this sort have been previously studied and implemented in a variety of devices. While they do show some attractive properties, the on-chip spread in critical current due to barrier non-uniformity was too high to be considered a viable option for use in many-junction devices. By developing a fabrication scheme which utilizes electron beam lithography, modest improvements were made in the on-chip parameter spread, and miniaturization of junction size yielded some insight into the non-uniform barriers.

The second approach of creating MgB2 Josephson junctions utilized a planar geometry with a normal metal barrier created by irradiating nano-sized strips of the material with a focused helium ion beam. The properties of these junctions are investigated for different irradiation doses. This new technique is capable of producing high quality junctions and furthermore the parameter spread is greatly reduced as compared to the sandwich type junctions. While more research is necessary in order to increase the IcR n products, these junctions show promise for use in many-junction devices such as RSFQ circuits.

Prior to this work, the largest substrates that could be coated with HPCVD grown MgB2 were 2" in diameter. A new chamber was designed and constructed which demonstrated the ability to coat substrates as large as 4". This scaled-up system was used to grow MgB2 films on 1 x 10 cm flexible substrates. A method of fabrication was developed which could pattern these 10 cm long samples into ribbon cables consisting of many high frequency transmission lines. This technology can be utilized to increase the cooling efficiency of cryogenic systems used for RSFQ systems which require many connections between low temperature and room temperature electronics.

Finally, a method of producing MgB2 films with thicknesses as low as 8 nm was developed. This is achieved by first growing thicker films and using a low angle ion milling step to gradually reduce the film thickness while still maintaining well connected high quality films. A procedure was developed for fabricating meandering nanowires in these films with widths as low as 100 nm for use as superconducting nanowire single photon detectors (SNSPDs). A study of the transport properties of these devices is first presented. Measurements show low values of kinetic inductance which is ideal for high count rates in SNSPDs. The kinetic inductance measurements also yielded the first measurements of the penetration depth of MgB2 films in the ultra-thin regime. Devices made from these ultra-thin films were found to be photon sensitive by measurements made by our collaborators.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Chen, Ke
Commitee: Iavarone, Maria, Tao, Rongjia, Wolak, Matt
School: Temple University
Department: Physics
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-B 79/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Physics
Keywords: Josephson junctions, Superconducting devices, Superconducting nanowire single photon detectors, Superconductivity
Publication Number: 10689307
ISBN: 9780355952728
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