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Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)

Sensing with superconducting point contacts.


PMID 22778630

Abstract

Superconducting point contacts have been used for measuring magnetic polarizations, identifying magnetic impurities, electronic structures, and even the vibrational modes of small molecules. Due to intrinsically small energy scale in the subgap structures of the supercurrent determined by the size of the superconducting energy gap, superconductors provide ultrahigh sensitivities for high resolution spectroscopies. The so-called Andreev reflection process between normal metal and superconductor carries complex and rich information which can be utilized as powerful sensor when fully exploited. In this review, we would discuss recent experimental and theoretical developments in the supercurrent transport through superconducting point contacts and their relevance to sensing applications, and we would highlight their current issues and potentials. A true utilization of the method based on Andreev reflection analysis opens up possibilities for a new class of ultrasensitive sensors.

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C10H14N2O6