Adiabatic Andreev Levels Under Irradiation - Coherent Dynamics and Dephasing
Doctoral thesis, 2000
A study of the Andreev level current through a weakly voltage-biased single-mode superconducting quantum point contact under microwave irradiation is presented. The applied microwave field induces resonant transitions between the current carrying Andreev states localized to the contact region, which results in an increase of the dc subgap current by several orders of magnitude.
The applied voltage-bias couples to the superconductor phase difference across the junction, which will evolve in time. In turn the Andreev levels will oscillate adiabatically within the superconductor energy gap. Depending on the frequency of the applied field there can be either one or two resonances per oscillation period. When considering the case of two resonances the calculated dc-current exhibits an interference pattern as a function of inverse voltage. A measurement of the oscillation period would make it possible to reconstruct the Andreev level spectrum. Further, a detailed study is conducted concerning the microwave-induced current as a function of voltage bias, and the amplitude and frequency of the applied field.
In realistic experimental situations there are equilibrium fluctuations of the applied voltage bias and sometimes impurity induced noise in the contact transparency. The amount of dephasing induced on the interference pattern by these fluctuations is estimated. In most cases the interference pattern will be subject to some amount of decay. However, there are parameter values for which this decay will be small. The decay originating from equilibrium fluctuations is predicted to have a non-monotonic dependence on the position of the resonances, while the decay induced by impurities should increase linearly when the separation between the resonances is increased. This difference could be used to distinguish between the two sources. The results also indicate that it should be possible to experimentally investigate the coupling between Andreev states and their environment, explicitly the impedance which the contact "sees" and the coupling strength between impurities and Andreev states.