Topologically protected superconducting ratchet effect generated by spin-ice nanomagnets

Rollano, V., Muñoz Noval, A., Gómez, A., Valdés Bango, F., Martín, J. I., Vélez, M., Osorio, M. R., Granados, D., González, E. M., Vicent, J. L. 2019. Topologically protected superconducting ratchet effect generated by spin-ice nanomagnets. Nanotechnology 30, 24 DOI: 10.1088/1361-6528/ab0923

We have designed, fabricated and tested a robust superconducting ratchet device based on topologically frustrated spin ice nanomagnets. The device is made of a magnetic Co honeycomb array embedded in a superconducting Nb film. This device is based on three simple mechanisms: (i) the topology of the Co honeycomb array frustrates in-plane magnetic configurations in the array yielding a distribution of magnetic charges which can be ordered or disordered with in-plane magnetic fields, following spin ice rules; (ii) the local vertex magnetization, which consists of a magnetic half vortex with two charged magnetic Neel walls; (iii) the interaction between superconducting vortices and the asymmetric potentials provided by the Neel walls. The combination of these elements leads to a superconducting ratchet effect. Thus, superconducting vortices driven by alternating forces and moving on magnetic half vortices generate a unidirectional net vortex flow. This ratchet effect is independent of the distribution of magnetic charges in the array.

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