Control of superconductivity with a single ferromagnetic layer in niobium/erbium bilayers
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Superconducting spintronics in hybrid superconductor/ferromagnet (S-F) heterostructures provides an exciting potential new class of device. The prototypical super-spintronic device is the superconducting spin-valve, where the critical temperature, Tc, of the S-layer can be controlled by the relative orientation of two (or more) F-layers. Here, we show that such control is also possible in a simple S/F bilayer. Using field history to set the remanent magnetic state of a thin Er layer, we demonstrate for a Nb/Er bilayer a high level of control of both Tc and the shape of the resistive transition, R(T), to zero resistance. We are able to model the origin of the remanent magnetization, treating it as an increase in the effective exchange field of the ferromagnet and link this, using conventional S-F theory, to the suppression of Tc. We observe stepped features in the R(T) which we argue is due to a fundamental interaction of superconductivity with inhomogeneous ferromagnetism, a phenomena currently lacking theoretical description.
Satchell , N , Witt , J D S , Flokstra , M G , Lee , S L , Cooper , J F K , Kinane , C J , Langridge , S & Burnell , G 2017 , ' Control of superconductivity with a single ferromagnetic layer in niobium/erbium bilayers ' Physical Review X , vol 7 , no. 4 , 044031 . DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevApplied.7.044031
Physical Review X
© 2017, American Physical Society. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at journals.aps.org/prx / https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevApplied.7.044031
The authors would like to thank the UK EPSRC (grant numbers: EP/J010634/1, EP/J010650/1, EP/I031014/1 and EP/J01060X/1) for their financial support. NS acknowledges JEOL Europe and ISIS neutron and muon source for PhD funding.
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