Meissner screening as a probe for inverse superconductor-ferromagnet proximity effects

Machiel Geert Flokstra, Rhea Stewart, Nathan Satchell, Gavin Burnell, Hubertus Luetkens, Thomas Prokscha, Andreas Suter, Elvezio Morenzoni, Steve Lee

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We present experimental results on the observed flux screening in proximity coupled superconductor-ferromagnet thin film structures using Nb and Co as the superconductor and ferromagnet respectively. Using the low-energy muon-spin rotation technique to locally probe the magnetic flux density, we find that the addition of the ferromagnet (F) increases the total flux screening inside the superconductor. Two contributions can be distinguished. One is consistent with the predicted spin-polarization (or magnetic proximity) effect, while the other is in line with the recently emerged electromagnetic (EM) proximity models. Furthermore, we show that the addition of a few nanometers of a normal metallic layer between the Nb and the Co fully destroys the contribution due to electromagnetic proximity. This is unanticipated by the current theory models in which the magnetization in the F layer is assumed to be the only driving force for the EM effect and suggests the role of additional factors. Further experiments to explore the influence of the direction of the F magnetization also reveal deviations from theory. These findings are an important step forward in improving the theoretical description and understanding of proximity coupled systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberL060506
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Review. B, Condensed matter and materials physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2021


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