Hard superconducting gap and diffusion-induced superconductors in Ge-Si nanowires

20 Dec 2019  ·  Ridderbos Joost, Brauns Matthias, Shen Jie, de Vries Folkert K., Li Ang, Kölling Sebastian, Verheijen Marcel A., Brinkman Alexander, van der Wiel Wilfred G., Bakkers Erik P. A. M., Zwanenburg Floris A. ·

We show a hard induced superconducting gap in a Ge-Si nanowire Josephson transistor up to in-plane magnetic fields of $250$ mT, an important step towards creating and detecting Majorana zero modes in this system. A hard induced gap requires a highly homogeneous tunneling heterointerface between the superconducting contacts and the semiconducting nanowire... This is realized by annealing devices at $180$ $^\circ$C during which aluminium inter-diffuses and replaces the germanium in a section of the nanowire. Next to Al, we find a superconductor with lower critical temperature ($T_\mathrm{C}=0.9$ K) and a higher critical field ($B_\mathrm{C}=0.9-1.2$ T). We can therefore selectively switch either superconductor to the normal state by tuning the temperature and the magnetic field and observe that the additional superconductor induces a proximity supercurrent in the semiconducting part of the nanowire even when the Al is in the normal state. In another device where the diffusion of Al rendered the nanowire completely metallic, a superconductor with a much higher critical temperature ($T_\mathrm{C}=2.9$ K) and critical field ($B_\mathrm{C}=3.4$ T) is found. The small size of diffusion-induced superconductors inside nanowires may be of special interest for applications requiring high magnetic fields in arbitrary direction. read more

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Mesoscale and Nanoscale Physics Quantum Physics