Ionic gating is a very popular tool to investigate and control the electric transport and electronic ground state in a wide variety of different materials. This is due to its capability to induce large modulations of the surface charge density by means of the electric-double-layer field-effect transistor (EDL-FET) architecture, often reaching values comparable to those occurring in metallic systems. Despite finding large success in tuning the phase diagram of low-carrier density systems, including cuprates and iron-based superconductors, its applicability to conventional metallic superconductors has received significantly less attention. In my talk, I will present the work which has been carried out in my research group over several years to investigate how ionic gating can tune the properties of metallic superconductor, using niobium nitride (NbN) as an emblematic case. By fabricating EDL-FETs on NbN thin films with thickness ranging between 10 and 40 nm, we observed that small positive and negative shifts in the critical temperature Tc could be induced by changing the gate-voltage polarity, and that the magnitude of these shifts increased upon decreasing the film thickness. These findings indicated that, despite the gate-induced electric field being confined in a thin layer at the surface by electrostatic screening, the perturbation to the superconducting state extends in a region much larger than a single unit cell. Indeed, the dependence of Tc on the gate voltage and thickness could be reconciled with the Eliashberg theory of superconductivity only if this thin surface layer is coupled to the underlying, unperturbed bulk via proximity effect. We also determined that the thickness of this surface layer (i.e. the screening length of the electric field) strongly increases for large gate electric fields, reaching values of the order of 3 nm at the highest doping. Ab-initio DFT calculations reproduced these results and linked this anomalous increase of the screening length to a distortion of the pristine charge density in the material upon the application of sufficiently large electric fields. This proximity-effect-induced transformation of the quasi-2D perturbation to the electron density into a 3D bulk modification of the superconducting properties seems to be a general behavior in gated superconductors that could hinder the possibility to obtain large Tc shifts in films thicker than the screening length. Consequently, we are currently focusing on exploring the tunability of ultrathin (< 5nm-thick) NbN films in order to maximize the gate-induced Tc shift, where we developed a novel technique of self-encapsulation in ultrathin niobium oxide to ensure the full reversibility of the gate modulation in these extremely sensitive devices.

Control of bulk superconductivity via surface-bound electric fields in ion-gated niobium nitride thin films / Piatti, E.; Daghero, D.; Ummarino, G. A.; Colangelo, M.; Romanin, D.; Medeiros, O.; Galanti, F.; Laviano, F.; Nair, J. R.; Sola, A.; Portesi, C.; Cristiano, R.; Casaburi, A.; Sklyadneva, I. Yu.; Chulkov, E. V.; Heid, R.; Berggren, K. K.; Gonnelli, R. S.. - STAMPA. - 1:(2020), pp. 67-69. ((Intervento presentato al convegno Solid State Surfaces and Interfaces 2020 tenutosi a Smolenice, Slovak Republic nel November 2326, 2020.

Control of bulk superconductivity via surface-bound electric fields in ion-gated niobium nitride thin films

E. Piatti;D. Daghero;G. A. Ummarino;D. Romanin;F. Galanti;F. Laviano;J. R. Nair;A. Sola;R. S. Gonnelli
2020

Abstract

Ionic gating is a very popular tool to investigate and control the electric transport and electronic ground state in a wide variety of different materials. This is due to its capability to induce large modulations of the surface charge density by means of the electric-double-layer field-effect transistor (EDL-FET) architecture, often reaching values comparable to those occurring in metallic systems. Despite finding large success in tuning the phase diagram of low-carrier density systems, including cuprates and iron-based superconductors, its applicability to conventional metallic superconductors has received significantly less attention. In my talk, I will present the work which has been carried out in my research group over several years to investigate how ionic gating can tune the properties of metallic superconductor, using niobium nitride (NbN) as an emblematic case. By fabricating EDL-FETs on NbN thin films with thickness ranging between 10 and 40 nm, we observed that small positive and negative shifts in the critical temperature Tc could be induced by changing the gate-voltage polarity, and that the magnitude of these shifts increased upon decreasing the film thickness. These findings indicated that, despite the gate-induced electric field being confined in a thin layer at the surface by electrostatic screening, the perturbation to the superconducting state extends in a region much larger than a single unit cell. Indeed, the dependence of Tc on the gate voltage and thickness could be reconciled with the Eliashberg theory of superconductivity only if this thin surface layer is coupled to the underlying, unperturbed bulk via proximity effect. We also determined that the thickness of this surface layer (i.e. the screening length of the electric field) strongly increases for large gate electric fields, reaching values of the order of 3 nm at the highest doping. Ab-initio DFT calculations reproduced these results and linked this anomalous increase of the screening length to a distortion of the pristine charge density in the material upon the application of sufficiently large electric fields. This proximity-effect-induced transformation of the quasi-2D perturbation to the electron density into a 3D bulk modification of the superconducting properties seems to be a general behavior in gated superconductors that could hinder the possibility to obtain large Tc shifts in films thicker than the screening length. Consequently, we are currently focusing on exploring the tunability of ultrathin (< 5nm-thick) NbN films in order to maximize the gate-induced Tc shift, where we developed a novel technique of self-encapsulation in ultrathin niobium oxide to ensure the full reversibility of the gate modulation in these extremely sensitive devices.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11583/2853674