Hope College Physics Department
Research Experiences for Undergraduates
Summer 2012
Project Summary

 

Project Title: Mapping the Nonlinearity of Superconductive Passive Circuits
Student Name: Brooke Jeries
Student's Home Institution: Hope College
Research Advisor: Dr. Stephen Remillard
Source of Support:

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF-RUI Grant No. DMR-1206149 and the Hope College Division of Natural and Applied Sciences.

The nonlinear response of High Temperature Superconducting (HTS) microwave resonator samples of Tl2Ba2CaCu2O8 (TBCCO) and YBa2Cu3O77(YBCO) on LaAlO3 (LAO) substrates was analyzed around the transition temperature (Tc). Nonlinearity is an undesirable response in commercially-produced superconductors that can potentially be minimized through the understanding of its effects through our investigation. HTS microstrip lines were examined with a travelling microscope and a scanning electron microscope (SEM) to determine the dimensions, geometry, and edge structures of each sample, and Energy-dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) was used to verify the material composition. Multi-tone measurements of even and odd order intermodulation distortion (IMD) currents were performed utilizing a simultaneous and synchronous measurement technique developed at Hope College. Around their respective Tcs, resonators of the two material systems exhibited different even and odd order IMD currents. The degree to which the superconducting current breaks time reversal symmetry (TRSB) is revealed by the ratio of the 2nd and 3rd order IMD levels. In YBCO samples, this ratio steadily decreased with increasing temperature, but then rapidly increased through Tc, indicating a considerable amount of TRSB. TBCCO showed a steady decrease in this ratio, as well, with increasing temperature, but did not show any indication of a rise in TRSB whilst approaching Tc. In TBCCO, 3rd order IMD exhibited a peak around Tc which is consistent with the nonlinear Meissner effect. TBCCO also appears to show nonlinearity past Tc much more than does YBCO, indicating the possibility of quantum mechanical fluctuations: a phenomenon associated with anisotropic superconductivity.

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