Physical Review Letters

Ubiquitous Superconducting Diode Effect in Superconductor Thin Films

View publication


The macroscopic coherence in superconductors supports dissipationless supercurrents that could play a central role in emerging quantum technologies. Accomplishing unequal supercurrents in the forward and backward directions would enable unprecedented functionalities. This nonreciprocity of critical supercurrents is called the superconducting (SC) diode effect. We demonstrate the strong SC diode effect in conventional SC thin films, such as niobium and vanadium, employing external magnetic fields as small as 1 Oe. Interfacing the SC layer with a ferromagnetic semiconductor EuS, we further accomplish the nonvolatile SC diode effect reaching a giant efficiency of 65%. By careful control experiments and theoretical modeling, we demonstrate that the critical supercurrent nonreciprocity in SC thin films could be easily accomplished with asymmetrical vortex edge and surface barriers and the universal Meissner screening current governing the critical currents. Our engineering of the SC diode effect in simple systems opens the door for novel technologies while revealing the ubiquity of the Meissner screening effect induced SC diode effect in superconducting films, and it should be eliminated with great care in the search for exotic superconducting states harboring finite-momentum Cooper pairing.