- Electrical transport and pinning properties of Nb thin films patterned with focused ion beam-milled washboard nanostructures (2012)
- A careful analysis of the magneto-transport properties of epitaxial nanostructured Nb thin films in the normal and the mixed state is performed. The nanopatterns were prepared by focused ion beam (FIB) milling. They provide a washboard-like pinning potential landscape for vortices in the mixed state and simultaneously cause a resistivity anisotropy in the normal state. Two matching magnetic fields for the vortex lattice with the underlying nanostructures have been observed. By applying these fields, the most likely pinning sites along which the flux lines move through the samples have been selected. By this, either the background isotropic pinning of the pristine film or the enhanced isotropic pinning originating from the nanoprocessing have been probed. Via an Arrhenius analysis of the resistivity data the pinning activation energies for three vortex lattice parameters have been quantified. The changes in the electrical transport and the pinning properties have been correlated with the results of the microstructural and topographical characterization of the FIB-patterned samples. Accordingly, along with the surface processing, FIB milling has been found to alter the material composition and the degree of disorder in as-grown films. The obtained results provide further insight into the pinning mechanisms at work in FIB-nanopatterned superconductors, e.g. for fluxonic applications.
- Spontaneous dissociation of Co2(CO)8 and autocatalytic growth of Co on SiO2: A combined experimental and theoretical investigation (2012)
- We present experimental results and theoretical simulations of the adsorption behavior of the metal–organic precursor Co2(CO)8 on SiO2 surfaces after application of two different pretreatment steps, namely by air plasma cleaning or a focused electron beam pre-irradiation. We observe a spontaneous dissociation of the precursor molecules as well as autodeposition of cobalt on the pretreated SiO2 surfaces. We also find that the differences in metal content and relative stability of these deposits depend on the pretreatment conditions of the substrate. Transport measurements of these deposits are also presented. We are led to assume that the degree of passivation of the SiO2 surface by hydroxyl groups is an important controlling factor in the dissociation process. Our calculations of various slab settings, using dispersion-corrected density functional theory, support this assumption. We observe physisorption of the precursor molecule on a fully hydroxylated SiO2 surface (untreated surface) and chemisorption on a partially hydroxylated SiO2 surface (pretreated surface) with a spontaneous dissociation of the precursor molecule. In view of these calculations, we discuss the origin of this dissociation and the subsequent autocatalysis.