Authors: Simon Collienne, Bart Raes, Wout Keijers, Julian Linek, Dieter Koelle, Reinhold Kleiner, Roman B.G. Kramer, Joris Van de Vondel, and Alejandro V. Silhanek
Phys. Rev. Applied 15, 034016 – Published 5 March 2021
Abstract: In this work, we show that targeted and controlled modifications of the Josephson-junction properties of a bridge-type Nb nanoSQUID can be achieved by an electroannealing process allowing us to tune and tailor the response of a single device. The electroannealing consists in substantial Joule heating produced by large current densities followed by a rapid temperature quench. We report on a highly nontrivial evolution of the material properties when performing subsequent electroannealing steps. As the current density is increased, an initial stage characterized by a modest improvement of the superconducting critical temperature and normal-state conductivity of the bridges, is observed. This is followed by a rapid deterioration of the junction properties, i.e., decrease of critical temperature and conductivity. Strikingly, further electroannealing leads to a noteworthy recovery before irreversible damage is produced. Within the electroannealing regime where this remarkable resurrection of the superconducting properties are observed, the nanoSQUID can be operated in nonhysteretic mode in the whole temperature range and without compromising the critical temperature of the device. The proposed postprocessing is particularly appealing in view of its simplicity and robustness.