We characterize a niobium-based superconducting quantum interference proximity transistor (Nb-SQUIPT) and its key constituent formed by a Nb–Cu–Nb SNS weak link. The Nb-SQUIPT and SNS devices are fabricated simultaneously in two separate lithography and deposition steps, relying on Ar ion cleaning of the Nb contact surfaces. The quality of the Nb–Cu interface is characterized by measuring the temperature-dependent equilibrium critical supercurrent of the SNS junction. In the Nb-SQUIPT device, we observe a maximum flux-to-current transfer function value of about 55nA/Φ0 in the sub-gap regime of bias voltages. This results in suppression of power dissipation down to a few fW. Low-bias operation of the device with a relatively low probe junction resistance decreases the dissipation by up to two orders of magnitude compared to a conventional device based on an Al–Cu–Al SNS junction and an Al tunnel probe (Al-SQUIPT).
- Proximity effect
- SNS junction