High quality factor manganese-doped aluminum lumped-element kinetic inductance detectors sensitive to frequencies below 100 GHz [IMA]


Aluminum lumped-element kinetic inductance detectors (LEKIDs) sensitive to millimeter-wave photons have been shown to exhibit high quality factors, making them highly sensitive and multiplexable. The superconducting gap of aluminum limits aluminum LEKIDs to photon frequencies above 100 GHz. Manganese-doped aluminum (Al-Mn) has a tunable critical temperature and could therefore be an attractive material for LEKIDs sensitive to frequencies below 100 GHz if the internal quality factor remains sufficiently high when manganese is added to the film. To investigate, we measured some of the key properties of Al-Mn LEKIDs. A prototype eight-element LEKID array was fabricated using a 40 nm thick film of Al-Mn deposited on a 500 {\mu}m thick high-resistivity, float-zone silicon substrate. The manganese content was 900 ppm, the measured $T_c = 694\pm1$ mK, and the resonance frequencies were near 150 MHz. Using measurements of the forward scattering parameter $S_{21}$ at various bath temperatures between 65 and 250 mK, we determined that the Al-Mn LEKIDs we fabricated have internal quality factors greater than $2 \times 10^5$, which is high enough for millimeter-wave astrophysical observations. In the dark conditions under which these devices were measured, the fractional frequency noise spectrum shows a shallow slope that depends on bath temperature and probe tone amplitude, which could be two-level system noise. The anticipated white photon noise should dominate this level of low-frequency noise when the detectors are illuminated with millimeter-waves in future measurements. The LEKIDs responded to light pulses from a 1550 nm light-emitting diode, and we used these light pulses to determine that the quasiparticle lifetime is 60 {\mu}s.

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G. Jones, B. Johnson, M. Abitbol, et. al.
Tue, 31 Jan 17

Comments: 5 pages, 4 figures

Vortex buoyancy in superfluid and superconducting neutron stars [HEAP]


Buoyancy of proton vortices is considered as one of the important mechanisms of magnetic field expulsion from the superconducting interiors of neutron stars. Here we show that the generally accepted expression for the buoyancy force is not correct and should be modified. The correct expression is derived for both neutron and proton vortices. It is argued that this force is already contained in the coarse-grained hydrodynamics of Bekarevich & Khalatnikov and its various multifluid extensions, but is absent in the hydrodynamics of Hall. Some potentially interesting buoyancy-related effects are briefly discussed.

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V. Dommes and M. Gusakov
Wed, 25 Jan 17

Comments: 6 pages, accepted for publication in MNRAS Letters

Microscopic Study of ${}^1{S_0}$ Superfluidity in Dilute Neutron Matter [CL]


Singlet $S$-wave superfluidity of dilute neutron matter is studied within the correlated BCS method, which takes into account both pairing and short-range correlations. First, the equation of state (EOS) of normal neutron matter is calculated within the Correlated Basis Function (CBF) method in lowest cluster order using the ${}^1{S_0}$ and ${}^3P$ components of the Argonne $V_{18}$ potential, assuming trial Jastrow-type correlation functions. The ${}^1{S_0}$ superfluid gap is then calculated with the corresponding component of the Argonne $V_{18}$ potential and the optimally determined correlation functions. The dependence of our results on the chosen forms for the correlation functions is studied, and the role of the $P$-wave channel is investigated. Where comparison is meaningful, the values obtained for the ${}^1{S_0}$ gap within this simplified scheme are consistent with the results of similar and more elaborate microscopic methods.

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G. Pavlou, E. Mavrommatis, C. Moustakidis, et. al.
Thu, 8 Dec 16

Comments: 9 pages, 6 figures

Nonequilibrium interpretation of DC properties of NbN superconducting hot electron bolometers [CL]


We present a physically consistent interpretation of the dc electrical properties of niobiumnitride (NbN)-based superconducting hot-electron bolometer (HEB-) mixers, using concepts of nonequilibrium superconductivity. Through this we clarify what physical information can be extracted from the resistive transition and the dc current-voltage characteristics, measured at suitably chosen temperatures, and relevant for device characterization and optimization. We point out that the intrinsic spatial variation of the electronic properties of disordered superconductors, such as NbN, leads to a variation from device to device.

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M. Shcherbatenko, I. Tretyakov, Y. Lobanov, et. al.
Fri, 7 Oct 16

Comments: N/A

Magnetic field dependence of the internal quality factor and noise performance of lumped-element kinetic inductance detectors [IMA]


We present a technique for increasing the internal quality factor of kinetic inductance detectors (KIDs) by nulling ambient magnetic fields with a properly applied magnetic field. The KIDs used in this study are made from thin-film aluminum, they are mounted inside a light-tight package made from bulk aluminum, and they are operated near $150 \, \mathrm{mK}$. Since the thin-film aluminum has a slightly elevated critical temperature ($T_\mathrm{c} = 1.4 \, \mathrm{K}$), it therefore transitions before the package ($T_\mathrm{c} = 1.2 \, \mathrm{K}$), which also serves as a magnetic shield. On cooldown, ambient magnetic fields as small as approximately $30 \, \mathrm{\mu T}$ can produce vortices in the thin-film aluminum as it transitions because the bulk aluminum package has not yet transitioned and therefore is not yet shielding. These vortices become trapped inside the aluminum package below $1.2 \, \mathrm{K}$ and ultimately produce low internal quality factors in the thin-film superconducting resonators. We show that by controlling the strength of the magnetic field present when the thin film transitions, we can control the internal quality factor of the resonators. We also compare the noise performance with and without vortices present, and find no evidence for excess noise beyond the increase in amplifier noise, which is expected with increasing loss.

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D. Flanigan, B. Johnson, M. Abitbol, et. al.
Thu, 22 Sep 16

Comments: 5 pages, 4 figures

Microscopic Calculations of Vortex-Nucleus Interaction in the Neutron Star Crust [CL]


We investigate the dynamics of a quantized vortex and a nuclear impurity immersed in a neutron superfluid within a fully microscopic time-dependent three-dimensional approach. The magnitude and even the sign of the force between the quantized vortex and the nuclear impurity have been a matter of debate for over four decades. We determine that the vortex and the impurity repel at neutron densities, 0.014 fm$^{-3}$ and 0.031 fm$^{-3}$, which are relevant to the neutron star crust and the origin of glitches, while previous calculations have concluded that the force changes its sign between these two densities and predicted contradictory signs. The magnitude of the force increases with the density of neutron superfluid, while the magnitude of the pairing gap decreases in this density range.

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K. Sekizawa, G. Wlazlowski, P. Magierski, et. al.
Wed, 14 Sep 16

Comments: 4 pages, 2 figures, Talk given at the 14th International Symposium on “Nuclei in the Cosmos” (NIC-XIV), June 19-24, 2016, Toki Messe, Niigata, Japan

Superconducting NbTiN Thin Films with Highly Uniform Properties over a 100 mm diameter Wafer [IMA]


Uniformity in thickness and electronic properties of superconducting niobium titanium nitride (NbTiN) thin films is a critical issue for upscaling superconducting electronics, such as microwave kinetic inductance detectors for submillimeter wave astronomy. In this article we make an experimental comparison between the uniformity of NbTiN thin films produced by two DC magnetron sputtering systems with vastly different target sizes: the Nordiko 2000 equipped with a circular 100mm diameter target, and the Evatec LLS801 with a rectangular target of 127 mm x 444.5 mm. In addition to the films deposited staticly in both systems, we have also deposited films in the LLS801 while shuttling the substrate in front of the target, with the aim of further enhancing the uniformity. Among these three setups, the LLS801 system with substrate shuttling has yielded the highest uniformity in film thickness (+/-2%), effective resistivity (decreasing by 5% from center to edge), and superconducting critical temperature (T_c = 15.0 K – 15.3 K) over a 100 mm diameter wafer. However, the shuttling appears to increase the resistivity by almost a factor of 2 compared to static deposition. Surface SEM inspections suggest that the shuttling could have induced a different mode of microstructural film growth.

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D. Thoen, B. Bos, E. Haalebos, et. al.
Wed, 7 Sep 16

Comments: IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, Applied Superconductor Conference 2016, 5 pages, 3 figures