Probing the Local Effects of Magnetic Impurities on Superconductivity

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Science  21 Mar 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5307, pp. 1767-1770
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5307.1767

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The local effects of isolated magnetic adatoms on the electronic properties of the surface of a superconductor were studied with a low-temperature scanning tunneling microscope. Tunneling spectra obtained near magnetic adsorbates reveal the presence of excitations within the superconductor's energy gap that can be detected over a few atomic diameters around the impurity at the surface. These excitations are locally asymmetric with respect to tunneling of electrons and holes. A model calculation based on the Bogoliubov-de Gennes equations can be used to understand the details of the local tunneling spectra.

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