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Lars Elster

Magnetic resonance in superconducting junctions

Published on 28 September 2016
Thesis presented September 28, 2016

In this thesis we investigate the possibility to change the charge current in superconducting junctions by manipulating the spin properties using magnetic resonance. We consider two different junctions: First, an unconventional Josephson junction between a conventional s-wave superconductor and an unconventional px-wave superconductor and second a half-metal/conventional superconductor junction. The spx junctions hosts two spin-polarized Andreev bound states, which are 2π-periodic, giving rise to a spontaneous magnetization in equilibrium. This opens the possibility to manipulate the occupations of the Andreev levels using a time-dependent magnetic field. We show that the field induces coherent Rabi oscillations between different spin states of the junction that appear as resonances in the current-phase relation. For a cicularly polarized magnetic field, we find a spin selection rule, giving Rabi oscillations only in a certain range of superconducting phase differences, which provides a spin detection scheme. In contrary, for a linear polarization, there is no spin constraint on the Rabi oscillations. The field also induces non-coherent transitions including continuum states that act as refill and ionization processes for the Andreev levels. For a circularly polarized field, these field-induced processes do not provide a decay mechanism for Rabi oscillations, due to spin and energy constraints. For a linear polarization, the width of the Rabi resonances in the current-phase relation is determined by the field-induced ionization processes. In the half-metal/conventional superconductor junction no Andreev current may flow for a static magnetization direction, since the perfect spin polarization of the half-metal forbids Andreev reflection processes at the interface. We show that an Andreev current flows, if the half-metal is subject to ferromagnetic resonance. The precessing magnetization direction in the half-metal provides the necessary spin-flip mechanism. The current is driven by the precession of the magnetization direction that creates a non-equilibrium situation for the charge carriers. We also show for a point contact geometry that in a ferromagnet with non-zero minority carrier concentration the current is reduced and vanishes at equal minority and majority carrier concentrations. Additionally, we consider a more realistic, extended interface geometry. For a ballistic junction, the current is enhanced compared to a point contact geometry due to the larger number of transport channels. Furthermore, we show that disorder is most important in the ferromagnet. The Andreev current through the disordered junction is much larger than the current through a ballistic junction in the same geometry.

Half-Metal, Unconventional, Ferromagnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance, Junction, Superconductor

On-line thesis.