Controllable morphology of flux avalanches in microstructured superconductors
Journal article, 2014
The morphology of abrupt bursts of magnetic flux into superconducting films with engineered periodic pinning centers (antidots) has been investigated. Guided flux avalanches of thermomagnetic origin develop a treelike structure, with the main trunk perpendicular to the borders of the sample, while secondary branches follow well-defined directions determined by the geometrical details of the underlying periodic pinning landscape. Strikingly, we demonstrate that in a superconductor with relatively weak random pinning the morphology of such flux avalanches can be fully controlled by proper combinations of lattice symmetry and antidot geometry. Moreover, the resulting flux patterns can be reproduced, to the finest details, by simulations based on a phenomenological thermomagnetic model. In turn, this model can be used to predict such complex structures and to estimate physical variables of more difficult experimental access, such as the local values of temperature and electric field.