Avalanches de fluxo em filmes finos supercondutores estruturados : suscetibilidade ac, morfologia e outros estudos
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Avalanches are sudden dramatic phenomena that occur in nature. The technique of magneto-optical imaging (MOI) has allowed us to observe abrupt flux entrances in superconductors, the so-called ux avalanches, due to thermomagnetic instabilities in the vortex matter. Their morphology is fascinating, especially in superconducting thin films, where they develop in dendritic patterns. From a practical point of view, the flux avalanches undermine applications of superconducting thin films. In the last years, however, several steps have been reached to fully understand the fundamental physics of the phenomenon and also on how to suppress their occurrence. The present thesis deals with the study of flux avalanches in structured superconducting thin films. We have studied crystalline Nb and amorphous Mo79Ge21 thin films decorated with arrays of antidots (ADs or holes) produced by electron beam lithography. The magnetic response of these specimens has been investigated by means of MOI, dc magnetization and ac susceptibility. Firstly, we have established a link among those three techniques in the regime dominated by flux avalanches. We have observed that the reentrant behavior in the ac susceptibility at low temperatures occurs as a consequence of flux avalanches. Essentially, there is reuse of the channels created by the first ac cycle in a regime where the signal is weakly dependent on the temperature. Our results show that measurements of ac susceptibility versus ac field amplitude can be used to detect flux avalanches, since the signature of the flux avalanches appears as noisy curves of both ac susceptibility components. As a consequence, the critical current density as a function of temperature [Jc.T ] obtained by using the Bean model whose validity is assured by Cole-Cole plots is smooth for higher temperatures and, below a certain temperature onset, a non-smooth and noisy behavior takes place due to the avalanches. The temperature dependence of Jc.T,H was determined for different values of the applied magnetic field. The stability/instability frontier was then identified as the limiting temperature below which the curve Jc.T,H becomes noisy, indicating the occurrence of avalanches. Associated with this limiting temperature, the threshold critical current density to trigger avalanches is essentially independent of the magnetic field. This frontier corresponds to the upper threshold limit for the occurrence of avalanches. The effect in a thin film of a graded distribution of ADs which follows nearly the flux profile described by the Bean model has been studied. Compared to the uniform distribution, there is an increase of the critical current density at low fields. Moreover, viii the flux avalanches, highly induced by the presence of an array of ADs, have their activity reduced in temperature and magnetic field. For the first time, flux avalanches have been visualized in amorphous Mo79Ge21 thin film, both in plain and decorated thin films. Finally, we have investigated the influence of the lattice symmetry and AD geometry on the flux avalanche morphology. We have observed avalanches with the habit of forming trees where the trunk is parallel to the main axis of the square lattice and the branches form angles of 45 degrees. In addition to that, we have found an anisotropic penetration in a Nb thin film decorated with a square lattice of triangular ADs. Besides that, a sample having one half of the ADs in the form of squares, and the other half being circles, has been observed to present avalanches of different morphologies on each of its halves. We have also studied an a-MoGe thin film with a centered rectangular 2D Bravais lattice with square ADs which shows penetrations with different angles depending on the edge. The overall features of the avalanches, and in particular the 45-degree direction of the branches, have been confirmed by numerical simulations using the thermomagnetic model. Superconductivity, structured thin films, flux avalanches, magneto-optical imaging.