Quantum dynamics of spin active and d-wave Josephson junctions
Conventional tunnel Josephson junctions form the basic building blocks of superconducting electronics. Their operation is based on comparatively simple dynamics where the superconducting phases across the junctions is the only dynamical degree of freedom. The goal of the project on which this thesis is based, is to understand the physics and develop a consistent theoretical description of the quantum dynamics of unconventional Josephson structures: spin active junctions, junctions containing low energy quasiparticles, and junctions composed of $d$-wave superconductors.
Spin active Josephson junctions involve the additional degree of freedom of quasiparticle spin. Here we theoretically investigate the spin-structure of the current carrying interface bound states - Andreev Bound States (ABS), and induced ground state spin polarization of a short (shorter than the superconducting coherence length) nanowire junction containing a localized magnetic moment. We show that temporal variation of the superconducting phase difference and magnetic moment induce rotations in spin polarized and unpolarized subspaces respectively, which is manifested by temporal oscillation of the Josephson current.
The interlevel transitions obey a selection rule that forbids manipulations in a certain region of
external parameters and results from specific properties of Andreev bound states in magnetic contacts where, in a certain regime of phase bias and strength of magnetic scatterer, ABS belong to different eigenstates of the combined charge and parity inversion symmetry operator.
A general framework is developed to include low energy quasiparticle states into the dynamics of Josephson junctions. Such states exist in e.g. constriction type junctions with high transparency channels or resonant states, as well as in junctions of unconventional superconductors. The existence of such states prevent the separation of energy scales which in conventional tunnel junctions freezes out the quasiparticle degrees of freedom. We show that the resonant interaction with such low energy states rather than
the Josephson potential defines the nonlinear Josephson dynamics at small amplitudes.
The framework is applied to high temperature Josephson junctions, whose unconventional order parameter admits ABS with energies in the middle of the superconducting gap - Mid Gap States (MGS). In addition to the non-linear dynamics induced by the MGS, we
identify a reentrance effect in the transition between thermal activation and macroscopic quantum
tunneling associated with the MGS, and connect this phenomenon to experimental observations.
macroscopic quantum tunneling
Andreev bound states