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Hybrid Superconducting/Ferromagnetic Thin Films for Super-Spintronics

Satchell, Nathan David (2016) Hybrid Superconducting/Ferromagnetic Thin Films for Super-Spintronics. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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This thesis examines the interaction between superconductivity and inhomogeneous ferromagnetism. Through careful engineering of the interface, it is possible to unlock a new spin aligned triplet Cooper pair, which is capable of penetrating and modifying the magnetisation of a ferromagnet in proximity to a singlet, s-wave, BCS, superconductor. This triplet state is the building block for the new class of super-spintronic devices. Two candidate ferromagnetic systems in which to study the spin aligned triplet are considered. Firstly, the rare-earth ferromagnet erbium is fabricated using sputter deposition. Neutron diffraction measurements show the retention of the conical magnetic state in the thin film form for the first time. This conical state makes it an ideal candidate material for triplet Cooper pair generation. Placing erbium next to superconducting niobium has a drastic effect on the critical temperature of the superconductor, causing a suppression and oscillation of Tc with erbium thickness. In addition the remanent state of erbium at a single thickness can be used as a control to switch the niobium from the superconducting state into the normal state. The second system studied is the superconducting spin valve. In this system the inhomogeneity is engineered in a multi-layer structure using exchange biased Co. To study the nature and extent of the triplet Cooper pair in this structure, large scale facility techniques are employed to look for expected changes to the magnetic state of the heterostructure, with the onset of superconductivity. Surprisingly, no observation directly attributable to the triplet Cooper pair was observed. Instead a new type of induced ferromagnetism in a normal metal coupled to the superconducting spin valve was discovered.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Related URLs:
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences (Leeds) > School of Physics and Astronomy (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.698246
Depositing User: Dr Nathan Satchell
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2016 16:24
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/15556

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