Rapid miniaturization of electronic devices and circuits demands profound understanding of fluctuation phenomena at the nanoscale. Superconducting nanowires – serving as important building blocks for such devices – may seriously suffer from fluctuations which tend to destroy long-range order and suppress superconductivity. In particular, quantum phase slips (QPS) proliferating at low temperatures may turn a quasi-one-dimensional superconductor into a resistor or an insulator. Here, we introduce a physical concept of QPS-controlled localization of Cooper pairs that may occur even in uniform nanowires without any dielectric barriers being a fundamental manifestation of the flux-charge duality in superconductors. We demonstrate – both experimentally and theoretically – that deep in the “insulating” state such nanowires actually exhibit non-trivial superposition of superconductivity and weak Coulomb blockade of Cooper pairs generated by quantum tunneling of magnetic fluxons across the wire.
- Superconducting properties and materials
- Superconducting devices