Indexed on: 18 Jul '08Published on: 18 Jul '08Published in: Physics - Superconductivity
We present switching current measurements in niobium-aluminum oxide-niobium underdamped Josephson rings. Underdamped Josephson rings display hysteretic current-voltage curves which can be characterized by their switching current, the value of applied current at which the junctions switch to the energy-gap voltage. The value of the switching current is strongly affected by temperature and by the presence of fluxons in the system. We observe a very small voltage (0.2 nV) across the ring prior to switching, indicating a low-velocity fluxon diffusion state before the jump to a full running state. In analogy with previous work on single junctions, we analyze the switching current data with the process of thermal activation over a dissipation barrier, where the system switches from a low velocity state to a high velocity state. We find that our data agrees qualitatively with this description, further supporting the observation of fluxon diffusion.