Stability of π-junction configurations in ferromagnet-superconductor heterostructures

Klaus Halterman, Oriol T. Valls

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24 Scopus citations


We investigate the stability of possible order parameter configurations in clean layered heterostructures of the SFS...FS type, where S is a superconductor and F a ferromagnet. We find that for most reasonable values of the geometric parameters (layer thicknesses and number) and of the material parameters (such as magnetic polarization, wave vector mismatch, and oxide barrier strength) several solutions of the self-consistent microscopic equations can coexist, which differ in the arrangement of the sequence of "0" and "π" junction types (that is, with either same or opposite sign of the pair potential in adjacent S layers). The number of such coexisting self-consistent solutions increases with the number of layers. Studying the relative stability of these configurations requires an accurate computation of the small difference in the condensation free energies of these inhomogeneous systems. We perform these calculations, starting with numerical self consistent solutions of the Bogoliubov-de Gennes equations. We present extensive results for the condensation free energies of the different possible configurations, obtained by using efficient and accurate numerical methods, and discuss their relative stabilities. Comprehensive and systematic results as a function of the relevant parameters for systems consisting of three and seven layers (one or three junctions) are given, and the generalization to larger number of layers is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104516
Pages (from-to)104516-1-104516-14
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
EULEEJ 0295-5075 10.1209/epl/i2001-00361-2 55 , 861 ( 2001 ). The work of K. H. was supported in part by a grant of HPC time from the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center and by ONR Independent Laboratory In-house Research funds.


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