Normal conductor-insulator-superconductor (NIS) junctions promise to be interesting for x-ray and phonon sensing applications, in particular due to the expected self-cooling of the N electrode by the tunneling current. Such cooling would enable the operation of the active element of the sensor below the cryostat temperature and at a correspondingly higher sensitivity. It would also allow the use of NIS junctions as microcoolers. At present, this cooling has not been realized in large area junctions (suitable for a number of detector applications). In this article, we discuss a detailed modeling of the heat flow in such junctions; we show how the heat flow into the normal electrode by quasiparticle back-tunneling and phonon absorption from quasiparticle pair recombination can overcompensate the cooling power. This provides a microscopic explanation of the self-heating effects we observe in our large area NIS junctions. The model suggests a number of possible solutions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)