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Nano Research

Article Title

Boosting the superconducting spin valve effect in a metallic superconductor/ferromagnet heterostructure

Keywords

spintronics, superconductivity, ferromagnetism, proximity effect

Abstract

ABSTRACT Superconducting spin valves based on the superconductor/ferromagnet (S/F) proximity effect are considered to be a key element in the emerging field of superconducting spintronics. Here, we demonstrate the crucial role of the morphology of the superconducting layer in the operation of a multilayer S/F1/F2 spin valve. We study two types of superconducting spin valve heterostructures, with rough and with smooth superconducting layers, using transmission electron microscopy in combination with transport and magnetic characterization. We find that the quality of the S/F interface is not critical for the S/F proximity effect, as regards the suppression of the critical temperature of the S layer. However, it appears to be of paramount importance in the performance of the S/F1/F2 spin valve. As the morphology of the S layer changes from the form of overlapping islands to a smooth case, the magnitude of the conventional superconducting spin valve effect significantly increases. We attribute this dramatic effect to a homogenization of the Green function of the superconducting condensate over the S/F interface in the S/F1/F2 valve with a smooth surface of the S layer.

Graphical Abstract

Publisher

Tsinghua University Press

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