Bloch oscillations and the dissipative phase transition in Josephson junctions
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Small capacitance junctions exhibit quantum mechanical effects on a macroscopic level. Among them are “Bloch oscillations”. If a suitable junction is driven by a weak external current, Ix, the voltage oscillates with fundamental frequency f = Ix/e. This reverses the role of current and voltage in comparison with the usual ac Josephson effect. The Bloch oscillations reflect properties of macroscopic energy bands. Both are quantitatively and qualitatively influenced by the dissipation due to quasiparticle tunneling. At a critical strength of the dissipation a phase transition occurs. It shows up in modifications of the spectrum of the voltage oscillations. It may also be important for the existence of global phase coherence of arrays of Josephson junction in the quantum limit.
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