We study current-voltage (V-I) characteristics of short superconducting nanowires of length ∼ 100 nm exposed to microwave (MW) radiation of frequencies between 2 and 15 GHz. The radiation causes a decrease of the average switching current of the wire. This suppression of the switching current is modeled assuming that there is one-to-one correspondence between Little's phase slips, which are microscopic stochastic events induced by thermal and quantum fluctuations, and the experimentally observed switching events.We also find that at some critical power P* of the radiation a dissipative dynamic superconducting state occurs as an extra step on the V-I curve. It is identified as a phase slip center (PSC), which is essentially a deterministic and periodic in-time phase rotation. With the dependence of the switching currents and the standard deviations observed at the transitions: (i) from the supercurrent state to the normal state and (ii) from the supercurrent state to the PSC regime, we conclude that both of the two types of switching events are triggered by the same microscopic event, namely a single-phase slip. We show that the Skocpol-Beasley-Tinkham model is not applicable to ourMW-driven PSCs, probably due to the tendency of the PSC to synchronize with the MW. Through the analysis of the switching current distributions at a sufficiently low temperature, we also present evidence that quantum phase slips play a role in switching events even under MWs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)