The influence of aging and annealing on the properties of Nb/Al-AlOx/Nb tunnel junctions
Paper in proceedings, 2010
This paper presents results of our studies on aging and annealing properties of Nb/Al-AlOx/Nb junctions. We performed a long room temperature aging with subsequent annealing at different temperatures up to 250°C. A distinct change of the junctions' normal-state resistance has been observed. Aging at room temperature results in a slight decrease of the normal-state resistance combined with improved junction quality, characterised by a better subgap-to-normal resistance ratio. Annealing at moderate temperatures in air increases the normal-state resistance and leads to improvement of the junction quality followed by degradation at higher annealing temperatures. The increase in the junction quality after long-term aging at room temperature is attributed to relaxation of the internal junction structure and interfaces, thus, resulting in a lower density of interface traps. The deterioration at higher annealing temperatures could be a consequence of diffusion processes at the Al/Nb interface. We observe a sufficiently clear difference between the behaviour of preliminary aged and newly fabricated junctions after annealing: for the aged high-quality junction, the degradation was negligible up to temperatures of 200°C, while non-aged junctions show a much faster and abrupt degradation at lower annealing temperatures.