Fabricating Nanogaps in YBa2Cu3O7-delta for Hybrid Proximity-Based Josephson Junctions
Journal article, 2015
The advances of nanotechnologies applied to high-critical-temperature superconductors (HTSs) have recently given a huge boost to the field, opening new prospectives for their integration in hybrid devices. The feasibility of this research goes through the realization of HTS nanogaps with superconductive properties close to the as-grown bulk material at the nanoscale. Here we present a fabrication approach allowing the realization of YBa2Cu3O7-delta (YBCO) nanogaps with dimensions as small as 35 nm. To assess the quality of the nanogaps, we measure, before and after an ozone treatment, the current-voltage characteristics and the resistance versus temperature of YBCO nanowires with various widths and lengths, fabricated by using different lithographic processes. The analysis of the superconducting transition with a thermally activated vortex-entry model allows us to determine the maximum damage the nanowires undergo during the patterning which relates to the upper bound for the dimension of the nanogap. We find that the effective width of the nanogap is of the order of 100 nm at the superconducting transition temperature while retaining the geometrical value of about 35 nm at lower temperatures. The feasibility of the nanogaps for hybrid Josephson devices is demonstrated by bridging them with thin Au films. We detect a Josephson coupling up to 85 K with an almost ideal magnetic-field response of the Josephson current. These results pave the way for the realization of complex hybrid devices, where tiny HTS nanogaps can be instrumental to study the Josephson effect through barriers such as topological insulators or graphene.