We investigate the microscopic origins of nonlinear rf response in superconducting electromagnetic resonators. Strong nonlinearity appearing in the transmission spectra at high input powers manifests itself through the emergence of jumplike features near the resonant frequency that evolve toward lower quality factor with higher insertion loss as the rf input power is increased. We directly relate these characteristics to the dynamics of localized normal regions (hot spots) caused by microscopic features in the superconducting material making up the resonator. A clear observation of hot-spot formation inside a Nb thin film self-resonant structure is presented by employing the microwave laser scanning microscope, and a direct link between microscopic and macroscopic manifestations of nonlinearity is established.
C. Kurter et al., "Microscopic Examination of Hot Spots Giving Rise to Nonlinearity in Superconducting Resonators," Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, vol. 84, no. 10, pp. 104515-1-104515-5, American Physical Society (APS), Sep 2011.
The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.84.104515
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