Quasiparticle spectroscopy, transport, and magnetic properties of Nb films used in superconducting qubits
Kamal R. Joshi, Sunil Ghimire, Makariy A. Tanatar, Amlan Datta, Jin-Su Oh, Lin Zhou, Cameron J. Kopas, Jayss Marshall, Josh Y. Mutus, Julie Slaughter, Matthew J. Kramer, James A. Sauls, Ruslan Prozorov
Physical Review Applied, 20, 024031 (2023)
Niobium thin films on silicon substrate used in the fabrication of superconducting qubits have been characterized using scanning and transmission electron microscopy, electrical transport, magnetization, quasiparticle spectroscopy, and real-space real-time magneto-optical imaging. We study niobium films to provide an example of a comprehensive analytical set that may benefit superconducting circuits such as those used in quantum computers. The films show outstanding superconducting transition temperature of Tc=9.35 K and a fairly clean superconducting gap, along with superfluid density enhanced at intermediate temperatures. These observations are consistent with the recent theory of anisotropic strong-coupling superconductivity in Nb. However, the response to the magnetic field is complicated, exhibiting significantly irreversible behavior and insufficient heat conductance leading to thermo-magnetic instabilities. These may present an issue for further improvement of transmon quantum coherence. Possible mitigation strategies are discussed.
- Comment: 8 pages, 5 figures