Modeling the power flow in normal conductor-insulator-superconductor junctions

J. Jochum, C. Mears, S. Golwala, B. Sadoulet, J. P. Castle, M. F. Cunningham, O. B. Drury, Matthias Frank, S. E. Labov, F. P. Lipschultz, H. Netel, B. Neuhauser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3217-3224
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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