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Quantum dissociation of a vortex-antivortex pair in a long Josephson junction

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Type
Preprint
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DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.91.257004
arXiv ID: cond-mat/0307705
Source
arXiv
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Abstract

We report a theoretical analysis and experimental observation of the quantum dynamics of a single vortex-antivortex (VAV) pair confined in a long narrow annular Josephson junction. The switching of the junction from the superconducting state to the resistive state occurs via the dissociation of a pinned VAV pair. The pinning potential is controlled by external magnetic field $H$ and dc bias current $I$. We predict a specific magnetic field dependence of the oscillatory energy levels of the pinned VAV state and the crossover to a {\it macroscopic quantum tunneling} mechanism of VAV dissociation at low temperatures. Our analysis explains the experimentally observed {\it increase} of the width of the switching current distribution $P(I)$ with $H$ and the crossover to the quantum regime at the temperature of about 100 mK.

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