Josephson transistors interacting with dissipative environment
Leppäkangas, Juha (2009-04-14)
The quantum-mechanical effects typical for single atoms or molecules can be reproduced in micrometer-scale electric devices. In these systems the essential component is a small Josephson junction (JJ) consisting of two superconductors separated by a thin insulator. The quantum phenomena can be controlled in real time by external signals and have a great potential for novel applications. However, their fragility on uncontrolled disturbance caused by typical nearby environments is a drawback for quantum information science, but a virtue for detector technology.
Motivated by this we have theoretically studied transistor kind of devices based on single-charge tunneling through small JJs. A common factor of the research is the analysis of the interplay between the coherent Cooper-pair (charge carriers in the superconducting state) tunneling and incoherent environmental processes. In the first work we calculate the current due to incoherent Cooper-pair tunneling through a voltage-biased small JJ in series with large JJs and compare the results with recent experiments. We are able to reproduce the main experimental features and interpret these as traces of energy levels and energy bands of the mesoscopic device. In the second work we analyze a similar circuit (asymmetric single-Cooper-pair transistor) but under the assumption that the Cooper-pair tunneling is mainly coherent. This predicts new resonant transport voltages in the circuit due to higher-order processes. However, no clear traces of most of them are seen in the experiments, and similar discrepancy is present also in the case of the symmetric circuit. We continue to study this problem by modeling the interplay between the coherent and incoherent processes more accurately using a density-matrix approach. By this we are able to demonstrate that in typical conditions most of these resonances are indeed washed out by strong decoherence caused by the environment. We also analyze the contribution of three typical weakly interacting dissipative environments: electromagnetic environment, spurious charge fluctuators in the nearby insulating materials, and quasiparticles. In the last work we model the dynamics of a current-biased JJ perturbed by a smaller JJ using a similar density-matrix approach. We demonstrate that the small JJ can be used also as a detector of the energy-band dynamics in a current biased JJ. The method is also used for modeling the charge transport in the Bloch-oscillating transistor.
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