Ultimate parameters of SIS junctions in theory and technological possibilities to achieve them
Tarasov M. A.1, Lomov A. A.2, Chekushkin A. M.1, Gunbina A. A.3, Fominsky M. Yu.1, Kraevsky S. V.4, Kozulin R. K.1, Shadrin A. V.5
1Kotelnikov Institute of Radio Engineering and Electronics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
2Valiev Institute of Physics and Technology of RAS, Moscow, Russia
3Institute of Applied Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
4Institute of Biomedical Chemistry, Moscow, Russia
5Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Dolgoprudny, Moscow oblast, Russia
Email: tarasov@hitech.cplire.ru

Tunneling Josephson junctions of the superconductor-insulator-superconductor (SIS) type have a history of more than 50 years, and theoretical estimates of the ultimate parameters of devices for receiving and processing signals based on them look very promising. In practice, in many cases, the actually achieved parameters turn out to be much worse than the theoretical ones, so for niobium SQUIDs the characteristic voltage Vc=IcRn at best reaches 200 μV, and according to theory it should be up to 2 mV. For Terahertz SIS mixers and oscillators, the main problems are a large specific capacitance, hysteresis, and leakage currents. These problems may be related to the morphology and crystal structure of superconductor films. In practice, films are granular, tunnel barriers are nonuniform, the effective area is about 10% of geometric area, leakage currents, parasitic capacitances occur. The crystal structure determines fundamentally different properties of the same elements, for example, for carbon it is diamond, graphite, fullerenes, nanotubes. Important components of a promising superconducting technology are: the use of single-crystal substrates matched in lattice constant and orientation with the grown films, optimization of growth temperature conditions, controlled formation of an oxide or nitride tunnel barrier. One option is to use a Schottky barrier for the semiconductor interlayer instead of a dielectric or normal metal one. This review presents the results of studying films by X-ray diffraction diagnostics, atomic force microscopy, and electron microscopy, showing the main bottlenecks of the existing technology with the deposition of niobium, niobium nitride, and aluminum films on oxidized standard silicon substrates, as well as the results of quasi-epitaxial growth of films on single-crystal substrates at various temperature conditions. Reproducible manufacturing of high-quality tunnel junctions can be achieved by implementing atomically smooth surfaces of tunnel contacts, which will improve the signal and noise characteristics of superconducting devices for receiving and processing information. Keywords: Josephson junctions, tunnel junctions, crystal structure, epitaxial films, surface roughness, single crystal substrates. DOI: 10.61011/PSS.2023.07.56396.29H
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