Publication
Physical Review B
Paper

Quasiparticle energy distribution and relaxation times in a tunnel-injected superconductor

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Abstract

Experiments are reported in which a nonequilibrium quasiparticle distribution was created in a dirty Al film by tunnel injection and probed using a second tunnel junction. The distribution was found to have the form of a quasithermal distribution characterized by an effective temperature greater than the ambient bath temperature and dependent on injection level, plus small sharp structures which originate in structures in the injected quasiparticle distribution due to gap-edge peaks in the quasiparticle density of states. A systematic theoretical analysis of these structures correctly predicts their shapes and relative amplitudes. The amplitudes show directly the presence of branch imbalance in the nonequilibrium quasiparticle distribution. Using the theoretical model, inelastic quasiparticle relaxation and elastic branch mixing times, as functions of energy and temperature, are extracted from the experimental data without need for phonon-trapping corrections. The qualitative and quantitative behavior of these times is in reasonable accord with theoretical expectations and the results of other experiments. Experiments of the type reported here are shown to provide a kind of spectroscopy of tunnel-injection and quasiparticle-relaxation processes in superconductors. © 1980 The American Physical Society.

Date

01 Aug 1980

Publication

Physical Review B