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Effect of granularity on the insulator-superconductor transition in ultrathin Bi films

Sambandamurthy, G and Das, Gupta K and Chandrasekhar, N (2001) Effect of granularity on the insulator-superconductor transition in ultrathin Bi films. In: Physical Review B: Condensed Matter, 64 (1).

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Official URL: http://prb.aps.org/abstract/PRB/v64/i1/e014506

Abstract

We have studied the insulator-superconductor transition (IST) by tuning the thickness in quench-condensed Bi films. The resistive transitions of the superconducting films are smooth and can be considered to represent ''homogeneous'' films. The observation of an IST very close to the quantum resistance for pairs R-square(N) similar to h/4e(2) on several substrates supports this idea. The relevant length scales here are the localization length, and the coherence length. However, at the transition, the localization length is much higher than the superconducting coherence length, contrary to expectation for a "homogeneous" transition. This suggests the invalidity of a purely fermionic model for the transition. Furthermore, the current-voltage characteristics of the superconducting films are hysteretic, and show the films to be granular. The relevant energy scales here are the Josephson coupling energy and the charging energy. However, Josephson coupling energies (E-J) and the charging energies (E-c) at the IST, they are found to obey the relation E-j < E-c. This is again contrary to expectation, for the IST in a granular or inhomogeneous system. Hence, a purely bosonic picture of the transition is also inconsistent with our observations. We conclude that the IST observed in our experiments may be either an intermediate case between the fermioinc and bosonic mechanisms, or in a regime of charge and vortex dynamics for which a quantitative analysis has not yet been done.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to The American Physical Society.
Department/Centre: Division of Physical & Mathematical Sciences > Physics
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2011 06:51
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2011 06:51
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/39533

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