Skip to main content

Atomic Layer Deposition of Tunnel Barriers for Superconducting Tunnel Junctions


We demonstrate a technique for creating high quality, large area tunnel junction barriers for normal–insulating–superconducting or superconducting–insulating–superconducting tunnel junctions. We use atomic layer deposition and an aluminum wetting layer to form a nanometer scale insulating barrier on gold films. Electronic transport measurements confirm that single-particle electron tunneling is the dominant transport mechanism, and the measured current–voltage curves demonstrate the viability of using these devices as self-calibrated, low temperature thermometers with a wide range of tunable parameters. This work represents a promising first step for superconducting technologies with deposited tunnel junction barriers. The potential for fabricating high performance junction refrigerators is also highlighted.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  1. 1.

    G. Wendin, V.S. Shumeiko, Low Temp. Phys. 33, 724–744 (2007)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    F. Giazotto, T. Heikkila, A. Luukanen, A.M. Savin, J.P. Pekola, Rev. Mod. Phys. 78, 217274 (2006)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    J. Muhonen, M. Meschke, J. Pekola, Rep. Prog. Phys. 75, 046501 (2012)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    A.M. Clark, N.A. Miller, A. Williams, S.T. Ruggiero, G.C. Hilton, L.R. Vale, J.A. Beall, K.D. Irwin, J.N. Ullom, Appl. Phys. Lett. 86, 173508 (2005)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    P.J. Lowell, G.C. O’Neil, J.M. Underwood, J.N. Ullom, Appl. Phys. Lett. 102, 082601 (2013)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    R.W. Simmonds, K.M. Lang, D.A. Hite, S. Nam, D.P. Pappas, J.M. Martinis, Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 077003 (2004)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    J.M. Martinis, K.B. Cooper, R. McDermott, M. Steffen, M. Ansmann, K.D. Osborn, K. Cicak, S. Oh, D.P. Pappas, R.W. Simmonds, C.C. Yu, Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 210503 (2005)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    L.C. Ku, C.C. Yu, Phys. Rev. B 72, 024526 (2005)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    A. Javey, H. Kim, M. Brink, Q. Wang, A. Ural, J. Guo, P. McIntyre, P. McEuen, M. Lundstrom, H. Dai, Nat. Mater. 1, 241 (2002)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    M. Leskela, M. Ritala, Thin Solid Films 409, 138 (2002)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    S.M. George, Chem. Rev. 110, 111–131 (2010)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    R. Lu, A. Elliot, L. Wille, B. Mao, S. Han, J. Wu, J. Talvacchio, H. Schulze, R. Lewis, D. Ewing, H. Yu, G. Xue, S. Zhao, IEEE Trans. Appl. Supercond. 23, 1100705 (2013)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    M.D. Groner, J.W. Elam, F.H. Fabreguette, S.M. George, Thin Solid Films 413, 186–197 (2002)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    A.M. Clark, A. Williams, S.T. Ruggiero, M.L. van den Berg, J.N. Ullom, Appl. Phys. Lett. 84(4), 625–627 (2004)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    C.H. Chang, Y.K. Chiou, C.W. Hsu, T.B. Wu, Electrochem. Solid State Lett. 10, G5–G7 (2007)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    I. Olejford, A. Nylund, Surf. Interface Anal. 21(5), 290–297 (1994)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Elliot A, Malek G, Wille L, Lu R, Han S, Wu J, Talvacchio J, Lewis R, IEEE Trans. Appl. Supercond. 99 (2013) (in press)

  18. 18.

    R.F. Broom, A. Oosenbrug, W. Walter, Appl. Phys. Lett. 37, 237 (1980)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    M. Gurvitch, M.A. Washington, H.A. Huggins, Appl. Phys. Lett. 42, 472 (1983)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors would like to acknowledge the help and useful discussion from Joel Ullom and Peter Lowell at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Co. S.M. would like to acknowledge the American Association of University Women for fellowship funding.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Stephanie M. Moyerman.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Moyerman, S.M., Feng, G., Krayer, L. et al. Atomic Layer Deposition of Tunnel Barriers for Superconducting Tunnel Junctions. J Low Temp Phys 176, 237–242 (2014).

Download citation


  • Superconducting tunnel junctions
  • Atomic layer deposition
  • Tunnel barriers