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Nanotechnology. 2012 Sep 7;23(35):355301. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/23/35/355301. Epub 2012 Aug 8.

Artificial vortex pinning arrays in superconducting films deposited on highly ordered anodic alumina templates.

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Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.


A simple procedure is described for creating periodic vortex pinning centers in thin superconducting NbN films. We report on three different strategies which involve the use of highly ordered alumina templates. In this approach, NbN thin films are deposited either on the porous face of the template made of a triangular array of nanoholes or on the triangular array of bumps formed by the barrier layer or even on the top of perpendicularly oriented ferromagnetic nanowire arrays obtained by electrochemical deposition, thus forming superconductor-ferromagnet hybrids. In all cases, the ordered template allows NbN films to form a periodic pinning array during its growth. The interpore (or inter-bump) distance ranged between 50 and 100 nm and adjustable pore (or wire) diameter was varied between 30 and 60 nm. Numerous matching effects have been observed up to 2.5 T and are maintained at low temperature. These fields are considerably higher than those typical for periodic pinning arrays made by lithographic techniques, which reflects the benefits of nanostructuring superconductors by using self-organized growth to enhance vortex pinning in a large field and temperature range.

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