A scanning superconducting quantum interference device with single electron spin sensitivity

Denis Vasyukov*, Yonathan Anahory, Lior Embon, Dorri Halbertal, Jo Cuppens, Lior Neeman, Amit Finkler, Yehonathan Segev, Yuri Myasoedov, Michael L. Rappaport, Martin E. Huber, Eli Zeldov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

317 Scopus citations

Abstract

Superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs) can be used to detect weak magnetic fields and have traditionally been the most sensitive magnetometers available. However, because of their relatively large effective size (on the order of 1 μm), the devices have so far been unable to achieve the level of sensitivity required to detect the field generated by the spin magnetic moment (μ B) of a single electron. Here we show that nanoscale SQUIDs with diameters as small as 46 nm can be fabricated on the apex of a sharp tip. The nano-SQUIDs have an extremely low flux noise of 50 nΦ 0 Hz -1/2 and a spin sensitivity of down to 0.38 μ B Hz -1/2, which is almost two orders of magnitude better than previous devices. They can also operate over a wide range of magnetic fields, providing a sensitivity of 0.6 μ B Hz -1/2 at 1 T. The unique geometry of our nano-SQUIDs makes them well suited to scanning probe microscopy, and we use the devices to image vortices in a type II superconductor, spaced 120 nm apart, and to record magnetic fields due to alternating currents down to 50 nT.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)639-644
Number of pages6
JournalNature Nanotechnology
Volume8
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the European Research Council (ERC advanced grant) and by the Minerva Foundation with funding from the Federal German Ministry for Education and Research. Y.A. acknowledges support by the Azrieli Foundation and by the Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Nature et les Technologies. M.H. acknowledges support from the Weston Visiting Professorship programme. E.Z. acknowledges support from the US–Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF).

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