Mercury-Based Cuprate High-Transition Temperature Grain-Boundary Junctions and SQUIDs Operating Above 110 Kelvin

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Science  19 Aug 1994:
Vol. 265, Issue 5175, pp. 1075-1077
DOI: 10.1126/science.265.5175.1075


The superconducting transport characteristics of HgBa2 CaCu2O6+δ (Hg-1212) films and grain-boundary junctions grown on (100)-oriented SrTiO3 bicrystal substrates have been investigated. The films exhibit a zero-resistance temperature of ∼120 kelvin and sustain large critical current densities, with values as high as 106 amperes per square centimeter at around 100 kelvin. On the other hand, the grain boundaries behave as weak links, with substantially lower critical currents, as is observed for other cuprate superconductors. A reduction of three orders of magnitude in critical current was observed for transport across a 36.8° grain boundary. The current-voltage characteristics of bridges across such a grain boundary show weak-link behavior qualitatively resembling that of a resistively shunted junction. Single-level direct-current superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs) have been fabricated with such bicrystal junctions. These SQUIDs show clear periodic voltage modulations when subjected to applied magnetic fields. The SQUIDs operate at temperatures as high as 111.8 kelvin, which makes them attractive for operation in portable sensors and devices that utilize nonconventional cooling methods.

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