Hysteretic Vortex-Matching Effects in High-Tc Superconductors with Nanoscale Periodic Pinning Landscapes Fabricated by He Ion-Beam Projection
AbstractSquare arrays of submicrometer columnar defects in thin YBa2Cu3O7-δ (YBCO) films with spacings down to 300 nm are fabricated by a He ion-beam projection technique. Pronounced peaks in the critical current and corresponding minima in the resistance demonstrate the commensurate arrangement of flux quanta with the artificial pinning landscape, despite the strong intrinsic pinning in epitaxial YBCO films. While these vortex-matching signatures are exactly at the predicted values in field-cooled experiments, they are displaced in zero-field-cooled, magnetic-field-ramped experiments, conserving the equidistance of the matching peaks and minima. These observations reveal an unconventional critical state in a cuprate superconductor with an artificial, periodic pinning array. The long-term stability of such out-of-equilibrium vortex arrangements paves the way for electronic applications employing fluxons.