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Highlight | Nanomaterials
Researchers at IRIG demonstrated that the injection of a very small number of free electrons into a superconducting niobium nanowire is enough to drastically reduce the critical current corresponding to the threshold of the superconducting state. The very low current thus generated breaks the bonds of electrons so-called Cooper pairs resulting in an accumulation of energetic electrons.
In the ground state of a superconductor, electrons pair up to form so-called Cooper pairs. The temperature, a magnetic field, an electric current or an incident photon can break these pairs to restore single electrons also called quasi-particles. The presence of quasi-particles is therefore the sign of a weakening of superconducting properties, which can harm the proper functioning of superconducting circuits such as Qbits or, on the contrary, be used to make photon detectors.
Jalabert T, Driessen EFC, Gustavo F, Thomassin JL, Levy-Bertrand F and Chapelier CThermalization and dynamics of high-energy quasiparticles in a superconducting nanowire probed by scanning critical current microscopy.Nature Physics 2023
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