PerspectivePhysics

Flux Quanta on the Move

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Science  14 Nov 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5648, pp. 1159-1160
DOI: 10.1126/science.1092038

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Summary

The controlled motion of magnetic fluxes forms the basis for various superconducting devices. These fluxes are kept in place by a "pinning" force. In their Perspective, Hilgenkamp, Moshchalkov, and Kes discuss a novel means to control the motion of the magnetic fluxes in superconducting devices by engineering nanometer-scale artificial pinning sites. They highlight the reversible rectifier based on such controlled flux motion reported by Villegas et al. In this device the asymmetric shape of the pinning sites enables the conversion from an ac superconducting current to a dc output voltage.