Superconducting insulators and localization of Cooper pairs
Rapid miniaturization of electronic devices and circuits demands profound understanding of fluctuation phenomena at the nanoscale. Superconducting nanowires - serving as important building blocks for such devices - may seriously suffer from fluctuations which tend to destroy long-range order and suppress superconductivity. In particular, quantum phase slips (QPS) proliferating at low temperatures may turn a quasi-one-dimensional superconductor into a resistor or an insulator. Here, we introduce a physical concept of QPS-controlled localization of Cooper pairs that may occur even in uniform nanowires without any dielectric barriers being a fundamental manifestation of the flux-charge duality in superconductors. We demonstrate - both experimentally and theoretically - that deep in the "insulating" state such nanowires actually exhibit non-trivial superposition of superconductivity and weak Coulomb blockade of Cooper pairs generated by quantum tunneling of magnetic fluxons across the wire.
Electronic devices operating at the nanoscale can exhibit unique electrical and thermal phenomena that can affect overall performance and so it is necessary to understand and control these types of fluctuations. Here, the authors theoretically and experimentally investigate quantum phase slips which can proliferate at low-temperatures in miniaturised superconducting devices and determine how this impacts on the resultant transport properties.