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Investigations of noise and of quantum interference in proximity effect bridges


Decker, Stephen K. (1975) Investigations of noise and of quantum interference in proximity effect bridges. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/HZMZ-3C32.


This work reports investigations upon weakly superconducting proximity effect bridges. These bridges, which exhibit the Josephson effects, are produced by bisecting a superconductor with a short (<1µ) region of material whose superconducting transition temperature is below that of the adjacent superconductors. These bridges are fabricated from layered refractory metal thin films whose transition temperature will depend upon the thickness ratio of the materials involved. The thickness ratio is changed in the area of the bridge to lower its transition temperature. This is done through novel photolithographic techniques described in the text, Chapter 2.

If two such proximity effect bridges are connected in parallel, they form a quantum interferometer. The maximum zero voltage current through this circuit is periodically modulated by the magnetic flux through the circuit. At a constant bias current, the modulation of the critical current produces a modulation in the dc voltage across the bridge. This change in dc voltage has been found to be the result of a change in the internal dissipation in the device. A simple model using lumped circuit theory and treating the bridges as quantum oscillators of frequency ω = 2eV/h, where V is the time average voltage across the device, has been found to adequately describe the observed voltage modulation.

The quantum interferometers have been converted to a galvanometer through the inclusion of an integral thin film current path which couples magnetic flux through the interferometer. Thus a change in signal current produces a change in the voltage across the interferometer at a constant bias current. This work is described in Chapter 3 of the text.

The sensitivity of any device incorporating proximity effect bridges will ultimately be determined by the fluctuations in their electrical parameters. He have measured the spectral power density of the voltage fluctuations in proximity effect bridges using a room temperature electronics and a liquid helium temperature transformer to match the very low (~ 0.1 Ω) impedances characteristic of these devices.

We find the voltage noise to agree quite well with that predicted by phonon noise in the normal conduction through the bridge plus a contribution from the superconducting pair current through the bridge which is proportional to the ratios of this current to the time average voltage across the bridge. The total voltage fluctuations are given by <V^2(f ) > = 4kTR^2_d I/V where R_d is the dynamic resistance, I the total current, and V the voltage across the bridge . An additional noise source appears with a strong 1/f^(n) dependence , 1.5 < n < 2, if the bridges are fabricated upon a glass substrate. This excess noise, attributed to thermodynamic temperature fluctuations in the volume of the bridge, increases dramatically on a glass substrate due to the greatly diminished thermal diffusivity of the glass as compared to sapphire.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Applied Physics, noise, quantum interference, proximity effect bridges
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Mercereau, James E.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:27 February 1975
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:07182014-085322954
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8559
Deposited By: Dan Anguka
Deposited On:18 Jul 2014 16:48
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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