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NanoSQUID as magnetic sensor for magnetic nanoparticles characterization

Abstract

Integrated magnetic sensors based on niobium dc SQUID (Superconducting Quantum Interference Device) for nanoparticle characterizations are presented. The SQUIDs consists of two Dayem bridges of 90 nm × 250 nm and loop area of 4, 1, and 0.55 μm2. The devices are realized by using an e-beam lithography nano-fabrication process which can directly pattern the devices in an electron-positive resist and then transferred to a 20 nm single niobium layer by a lift-off post-process. The SQUIDs were designed to have a hysteretic current–voltage characteristic in order to work as a magnetic flux-current transducer. The presence of an integrated niobium coil, tightly coupled to the SQUID, allows us to easily excite the SQUID and to flux bias the SQUID at its optimal working point. Current–voltage characteristics, critical current as a function of the external magnetic field and switching current distributions were performed at liquid helium temperature. A critical current modulation of about 20% and a current-magnetic flux transfer coefficient (responsivity) of 30 μA/Φ0 have been obtained, resulting in a magnetic flux resolution better than 1 mΦ0. The authors performed preliminary measurements with and without iron oxide nanoparticles on the SQUID loop in order to show the device sensitivity in view of nano-magnetism applications. It was showed that the presence of magnetic nanoparticles can be easily detected and the magnetic relaxation curve measured.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to D. Fiorani for stimulating discussions and L. Suber for providing us the iron oxide nanoparticles. The authors also would like to thanks B. Ruggiero for helpful discussions about switching current distribution measurements.

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Correspondence to C. Granata.

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Russo, R., Granata, C., Walke, P. et al. NanoSQUID as magnetic sensor for magnetic nanoparticles characterization. J Nanopart Res 13, 5661–5668 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11051-011-0330-2

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Keywords

  • Superconductivity
  • SQUID
  • Dayem nanobridge
  • Magnetic nanoparticle
  • Magnetic sensor